Today, MSP for Glasgow Provan, Paul Martin, will outline bold new proposals for dealing with the threat posed by dangerous child sex offenders. Paul will use his Members’ Business debate in Holyrood to call for the following:
- A searchable web-based public registry containing information about high-risk sex offenders which can be searched by name or postcode.
- A panel of expert clinicians to assess sex offenders on a case by case basis to determine their risk of reoffending and their eligibility for the online registry.
- A requirement for convicted sex offenders to disclose information about their convictions during the housing application process.
- A review of sentencing tariffs for child sex offenders.
The public registry proposed by Mr Martin is a composite of various schemes introduced in the USA under Megan’s Law.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Paul said:
“It has been more than 10 years since the Justice 2 Sub-Committee in Holyrood published recommendations intended to keep children safe from dangerous sex offenders living in our communities.
A key recommendation, which would make it a legal requirement for sex offenders to disclose details of previous convictions on housing applications, has never been implemented, and others are no longer fit for purpose.
I believe every parent has a right to know if a dangerous sex offender is living nearby so they can take reasonable steps to protect their children.
The aim of the online registry would be to increase awareness of offenders thought to be at high risk of reoffending.
It is important to emphasise that such a system would be part of a basket of measures used to manage sex offenders, protect communities and support victims of abuse.
It would also be essential for any online registry to be closely monitored by the authorities and properly resourced.”