The SOA 1997 was seen, by many, to be a reasonable piece of legislation. What responsible person could argue that those dangerous to society (particularly in a sexual manner) should not have their personal details made easily-available (amongst other rationalisations), allowing the authorities to access them in times of criminal crisis?
Since that time, a raft of related Statutes, Instruments and related Case Law have led to, what the authorities like to describe as, “… some of the most stringent laws governing sex offenders in the world … . It certainly is this, but it is a great deal more. It has now led to a Pariah status for thousands of citizens, who, until quite recently, would not only not have been perceived (or assessed to be) a danger to society, but would not have been criminals at all. It would be nice to believe that these unfortunate actions may have had a positive effect on reducing the number of sexual offences, but that has not been the case.
Fortunately, in the last few years, we have seen some inklings of rationality illuminating the courts, within this arena, however, much damage has been done and continues to be done, for little good reason. Society is now so illogically-fearful of, and hate-directed to, the ‘Sex Offender’, to a point where it is, essentially, impossible to have a rational, evidenced-based, discussion in the public, or even academic, arena.
It is proposed that this is only one (particularly effective) vehicle to maintain and build empires, and to extend and introduce further surveillance, monitoring, vetting and control regimes, which are now being applied to those, regardless of the nature of an earlier crime, or even for those without a criminal record.
The issue of social and personal impact has been introduced in the Presentation. It is impossible to find any other UK minority, where certain individuals and groups are treated (quite legally, in many examples), in such an appalling, inequitable and devastating manner.
It is my proposition, that we live in a time and place of absolute hysteria, regarding ‘Sexual Offending’, and that this has not arisen by accident. I also propose that the present legal (including ineffective advocates), judicial, academic and media reaction to ‘Sexual Offending’ does more harm than good (by a number of measures) and this is, evidentially, the case.