In 1997, what may have appeared to be a reasonable and beneficial idea, towards a better society, has now become a living nightmare for many individuals and families.
Since that time, mission creep, populist political posturing and law-making, along with the vested interests of the media, lobby groups and a stifling regime of policing, has led to fear, disenfranchisement and little hope towards a worthy future for these people and their families.
This, not small, group of UK citizens, some isolated and poverty-stricken for no good reason, has little real support, a limited ability to fight for their Civil and Human Rights and some, quite unacceptably, live in constant fear of attack or harassment.
So, who can these people be? Who is this sizeable, yet, apparently, invisible group? Who could be suffering so much and yet be receiving so little attention? This group of people are the so-called ‘Sex Offenders’ and their families. This group includes me. Thank You.
Uploaded by: CriticalEstoppelMM on Jul 3, 2010,
Topic: The Creation of Fresh Pariahs,
Section: Few Equal Opportunities For Us,
Creator: Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield July 2010.
Video Entry to The Times/Herbert Smith Advocacy Competition, 2010
The full piece ...
The Creation of Fresh Pariahs
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 …" (1). 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 (2-5), 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. (6)
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 (7) 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.
(1) Beckford, M. and Stokes, P. (2010), Human rights laws stopped Home Office tracking sex offenders’ emails, The Telegraph, March 10, 2010 <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/7406462/Human-rights-laws-stopped-Home-Office-tracking-sex-offenders-emails.html> Accessed May 27, 2010 (media website).
(2) The BBC (2008), Sex offenders win rights ruling, BBC News, December 19, 2008 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7792497.stm> Accessed May 27, 2010 (media website); R (on the application of F (by his litigation friend F)) and Thompson (FC) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant)  EWCA Civ 792 <http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2010/17.html> Accessed May 27, 2010 (law website).
(3) HeraldScotland (2010), Scots sex offenders win human rights fight, The Herald, May 20, 2010 <http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/scots-sex-offenders-win-human-rights-fight-1.1029070> Accessed May 29, 2010 (media website).
(4) This is Bristol (2009), Prison sentences for child porn cut, Evening Post, December 6, 2009 <http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Prison-sentences-child-porn-cut/story-11239361-detail/story.html> Accessed May 29, 2010 (media website).
(5) Garden Court North Chambers (2008), Imprisonment for Public Protection, February 27, 2008 <http://www.gcnchambers.co.uk/gcn/areas_of_specialisation/areas/criminal_defence/criminal_law_updates/criminal_law_update_27_2_08> Accessed May 27, 2010 (law company website); R v Alexander James Terrell  EWCA Crim 3079 <http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2007/3079.html> Accessed May 27, 2010 (law website).
(6) Russell, J. (2009), Paranoia casts volunteers as perverts, The Sunday Times, December 13, 2009 <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6954534.ece> Accessed May 29, 2010 (media website).
(7) Ozimek, J.F. (2010), Sex offender downloads child pr0n to get back into prison - A purely practical measure, The Register, June 18, 2010 <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/18/download_prison/> Accessed June 5, 2010 (media website).