Nearly 10% of sex offenders age 24 or younger at the time of their release were arrested for rape or sexual assault within 3 years of release, compared to 3.0% of those aged 40 or older.
This distressing data derives from a nine-year study (2005-2014) compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2019 (www.bjs.gov).
“One assumes that your loved ones are surrounded by people that are ‘safe’, but are they? Do we truly know our neighbours? Are there persons in our close community who are listed on the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO)?”
These are the questions raised by Action Society, a new found civil rights organisation fighting for justice and change by supporting and fulfilling in the needs of the vulnerable. At the brink of SA’s National Child Protection week, Action Society are launching their “Know your neighbour” campaign — urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to publicly release the NRSO as soon as possible.
The NRSO was established in 2007 by an Act of Parliament in an effort to “curb the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa”. The NRSO is a database that lists the names of sexual offenders who have been found guilty of sexual offences against minors and mentally disabled people. Names of people convicted of such crimes but were declared mentally unfit to stand trial’s names are also included in the register.
Presently employers in the public and private sectors, such as schools, crèches and hospitals, have the right to access this register in order to confirm that a potential employee are fit to work with children or mentally disabled persons. Convicted offenders are not allowed to work with, adopt or apply to be foster carers of children.
The NRSO, which was implemented in 2009, however is kept confidential and not open to the general public. As a result numerous offenders still have access to vulnerable people in our society. Although sex offender registries exists in many English-speaking countries (including Australia, Canada, Israel, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago) it is only publicly accessible in the United States.
“We are concerned that government lacks the will to enforce safety and security in South Africa. Citizens are therefore obliged to take a stand and change this by joining hands together,” Action Society’s spokesperson, Daleen Gouws says.
“Making the NRSO freely available will encourage transparency in our communities and safeguard our children and other vulnerable parties. Especially now in light of Covid-19 restrictions which forces persons that might be at risk to be with acquit perpetrators of sexual crimes 24/7.”
Action Society is a civil rights organisation driven by a purpose to provide a voice to the voiceless. Our team has come together to form a collaborative arm within the community: fighting for justice and change by supporting and fulfilling in the needs of the vulnerable. Utilizing the framework of our civil rights system we aim to deconstruct the harsh realities that we see daily.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 2 JUNE 2020
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,