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Sex offenders in Australia - Essay Example

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“Naming and Shaming” of Sex Offenders in Australia Introduction Without a doubt, sex offenses, particularly of the young and vulnerable, are crimes of the highest order. There is nothing so heartbreaking as the sight of a mother grieving the loss of her missing child, and then finding out that that child has been raped and murdered at a tender young age…
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Download file to see previous pages It is thus reasonable to expect society to consider and undertake all possible viable solutions against sex offenses. In the United States, the passage of Megan’s Law has is widely known for making legal the naming of sex offenders after they have been released from prison, as a means by which the community they are reintegrated in are made aware of the risks. In our country, Australia, there is the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR) targeting sex offenders of minor children, and monitoring them for a certain duration of time. However, this is altogether different from the “naming and shaming” of these individuals, which Australia has still not allowed. The issue of the naming of sex offenders has hit the headlines in recent months, with Melboune broadcaster Derryn Hinch lost his court battled against suppression orders to protect child abusters. Victoria’s Sex Abusers Monitoring Act, he said, was unconstitutional for not explicitly stating that court proceedings must be held publicly. He also said that suppression orders are unconstitutional. Deciding against him, the courts held that suppression orders are unconstitutional and he was guilty of contempt for divulging the names of the sex offenders. And yet, there is growing public support around the idea of naming and shaming, such support built upon populist sentiments condemning sexual offenses, demonizing sezual offenders and rousing fears that communities will not be safe in the presence of these sex offenders. In my paper, I will use two criminological theories to examine and critique this notion of naming of sex offenders. These are the conflict theory of criminology and the classical theory of criminology. A. Conflict Theory In order to discuss Conflict theory, it is incumbent to compare it with the consensus theory. The sociological theories that underpin our understanding of crime and punishment, as well as the justice system have long been the subject of debate by opposing ideological camps. The divergent approaches of “consensus” and “conflict” and what approach is the most appropriate lens with which to understand crimes remains to be discussed today, with the debates evolving to meet more modern and complex contemporary problems. It is imperative to begin by defining the concepts. Reid (119) defined the consensus approach as one that “views the emerging norms and laws of society as representative of the common feeling about what is right and proper; that is, they represent a consensus of views—a mechanism for maintaining social order.” It looks at society as a homogenous whole, without factions or frictions, and making a collective determination on what is right and what is wrong. For example, taking a very recent incident, the harsh punishments meted against the London street rioters might be deemed appropriate among proponents of the consensus theorists: indeed, the destruction of private property and petty larceny go against collective values and the State must bear down heavily upon those who seek to trample those values. In contrast, the proponents of the conflict theory look at society not as a homogenous whole, but as one wracked by class fault lines. Therefore, laws are not simply collectively-agreed upon rules that establish social order and ensure the efficient and harmonious functioning ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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