Concern over sex offenders living incognito

Over 130 recently released child sex offenders are living anonymously in the greater Waikato/Bay of Plenty region, with close to a third considered highly likely to reoffend.

The figures, released to the Times by the Department of Corrections under the Official Information Act, have come as no surprise to man working with survivors of sexual abuse in Hamilton.

"There are a s...load of offenders out there and we need to be doing more about it and not protecting the offenders," Mike Holloway, of the Hamilton-based Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, said.

His comments come after Corrections refused to give a breakdown of sexual offenders living purely in the Waikato saying they had to protect the offenders' safety and privacy.

This was despite giving the Times such a breakdown in 2010.

There have been a number of instances where sex offenders have been singled out by communities.

In August, a paedophile released after eight years in prison for crimes that included the drugging and violation of young boys was driven from Turangi by a firebomb attack on his house.

He was later relocated to Taupo.

The figures Corrections did release show that as of October 31, 205 sex offenders were being managed by Correction's central region which includes the Greater Waikato, Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty.

Of those, 135 had committed sex crimes on children.

Of the 135 paedophiles being managed in the central region, 42 were subjected to extended supervision orders (ESOs), meaning they were assessed as being of a high risk of reoffending sexually against children.

An ESO allows the Probation Service to monitor offenders for up to 10 years after release from prison. They can be sent to prison for up to two years if they breach supervision.

Mr Holloway said he knew of a number of child sex offenders living in Hamilton through his work.

"But the majority of public are not aware," he said.

"This is why I have made my stance on a sex offenders register. The biggest tool of a child sex offender is secrecy.

"And although a sex offender register could cause ‘witch-hunts', the public are better able to protect their children if they have knowledge of these offenders."

Mr Holloway has 220 clients - 45 under the age of 18.

"The impacts from the abuse are life-long and by all accounts ESOs give them no comfort, particularly the younger victims.

"Their concept is that these people will find a way to get them."

And while Mr Holloway said the public should be aware of these offenders, the "scary thing" was that the majority of child sex offenders are related to their victims.

"The general public has still not grasped this. My statistics from those I have worked with show 64 per cent of the offenders were family members. Out of the other 36 per cent, only three per cent were strangers."

"Another scary statistic shows that 87 per cent of the victims I have worked with, never reported the offending. So a lot of offenders [are] out there still doing their thing."

Corrections assistant general manager Maria McDonald said they had strategies in place to deal with high-risk sex offenders upon release.

"I can assure you it is not simply a case of finding somewhere for an offender to live and leaving them to get on with it," she said.

"We continuously assess the suitability of the house with regular home visits, checks on other occupants . . . and ongoing information sharing with police and other agencies."

In August 2012 they also introduced GPS monitoring. As of November 27, 25 child sex offenders were being monitored by GPS. They hoped to increase that to 200 in 2013.

"Using GPS is an excellent way to keep tabs on the small number of offenders who require close monitoring."



Corrections-managed sex offenders in central region (October 2012) 205

Offenders against children 135

Those on extended supervision (high risk of reoffending) 42

Paedophiles on GPS monitoring 25

Waikato Times