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What does the public think about sex offender registers? Findings from a national Australian study


Bartels, L and Gelb, K and Spiranovic, C and Warner, K and Roberts, L and Davis, J, What does the public think about sex offender registers? Findings from a national Australian study, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 28, (4) pp. 560-575. ISSN 1321-8719 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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2020 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law.

DOI: doi:10.1080/13218719.2020.1805813


This article presents data from questions about sex offender registration orders in a large national survey on Australian public opinion about adult sex offenders. It outlines the legislative frameworks that govern these registers in Australia and discusses the use of public registers, the research on the effectiveness of sex offender registers, and Australian attitudes to such registers. Our surveys of three cohorts of members of the Australian public reveal strong public support for sex offender registers, especially for cases involving child victims. However, there was also support for judicial discretion in the imposition of orders and reduced support for automatic registration where a non-custodial sentence is imposed. The Australian Government has recently announced the establishment of a national public sex offender register, but our findings show limited support for this approach. The implications for policy and practice are considered.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, jurors, public opinion, sentencing, sex offender registers
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Courts and sentencing
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Criminal justice
UTAS Author:Bartels, L (Ms Lorana Bartels)
UTAS Author:Spiranovic, C (Dr Caroline Spiranovic)
UTAS Author:Warner, K (Professor Kate Warner)
ID Code:140877
Year Published:2021 (online first 2020)
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2020-09-14
Last Modified:2022-11-01
Downloads:9 View Download Statistics

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