On 14 October 2016, the Child Sex Offender (CSO) Register was established under the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Government Agency Registration) Act 2016.
The CSO Register is administered by the NZ Police, with the support of Corrections. Those placed on the register are required to report a range of personal information on an annual basis and whenever their situation changes, for example, moving to a new address, buying a car or starting a new job. An offender commits an offence if they fail to comply with their reporting obligations or provide false or misleading information.
When a registered offender leaves prison they are required to start reporting their personal information to the register, and continue to report it until the end of their registration period. Offenders serving community sentences can also be placed on the register at the order of a judge.
Probation officers and case managers from both Corrections and Police work with registered offenders to develop a plan for their reintegration back into the community, with the aim of supporting them to maintain a low-risk lifestyle and protecting the community.
Corrections and Police have been working closely on developing the register for several years. Corrections’ Deputy National Commissioner Rachel Leota says that the register is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration between the two agencies.
“The register is the first nationally coordinated body of up-to-date information about child sex offenders living in the community,” says Rachel.
“While sexual offending makes up less than one percent of all recorded offences, the physical and emotional damage it can cause is substantial. By introducing the register, we can work together to better assess risk to children posed by individuals and take steps to address that risk and help prevent harm to children.”
Police Assistant Commissioner Bill Searle says it’s important to remember that most convicted child sex offenders do not re-offend once they are released from prison, but there are some that do.
“The register allows more effective monitoring so that changes in a registered person’s life that could escalate their risk of re-offending are picked up. Police case managers, with probation officers where appropriate, can then work with that person in a pro-active way to address the risk,” says Bill.
“Some information can also be shared across a number of Government agencies ensuring that there is a more co-ordinated approach to protecting our children.”
For more information go to www.police.govt.nz/csoregister