Lauren Gross reports on a new government task force which may see convicted pedophiles in NSW chemically castrated instead of incarcerated.
The New South Wales Justice Minister, Troy Grant, has announced a new government task force to consider forcing child sex offenders to undergo chemical castration, instead of being sentenced to prison in NSW.
Courts in Western Australia and Victoria can mandate the use of chemical castration while sex offenders in NSW can decide to voluntarily undergo the treatment while imprisoned.
Grant told the ABC that statistics show 17 per cent of child sex offenders were likely to re-offend in two years, regardless of time spent behind bars.
However, this is in contrast to a report from the Australian Institute of Criminology that says child sex offenders have low rates of recidivism, compared with other types of offenders.
However, the report notes that recidivism of pedophiles is a challenging thing to study and has its limitations.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS 2005) Personal Safety Survey, 12 per cent of women and four and a half per cent of men having been sexually abused before the age of 15 years.
Grant says everything needs to be done to protect children from abuse.
“We must do everything possible to reduce that figure,” he said.
However, critics say that chemical castration is not effective in stopping pedophiles from re-offending.
Brett Collins from Justice Action – an activist group that focuses on abuses of authority – told the ABC that after studying the results from voluntary patients, chemical castration does not work.
“We actually know that it hasn’t been effective for them anyway,” he said.
“The issues are much larger … there are personality issues, there are issues involved with a range of self-esteem issues as well.”
Other countries around the world currently have chemical castration as a punishment for pedophiles and sex offenders including Russia, Poland and South Korea.
The Czech Republic continues to surgically castrate offenders.
Chemical castration works by drastically reducing the testosterone levels of the patient to that of a pre-pubescent boy – thus reducing the man’s libido.
This isn’t permanent and sexual desire will return if the injections are stopped.
Image: Flickr, no changes made.