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New ECPAT International study breaks down the complexities surrounding child sex offender registries

Posted on Nov 1, 2023

1 November 2023 

New ECPAT International study breaks down the complexities surrounding child sex offender registries 

Bangkok, Thailand—Amidst uncertainties surrounding the effectiveness of sex offender registries, ECPAT International’s latest publication raises critical questions that should be taken into consideration when implementing and developing them. 

Through a comprehensive literature review and interviews with law enforcement professionals across a dozen countries, the (Child) Sex Offender Registry Working Paper meticulously examines academic, policy, and practical evidence on the impact of registries worldwide, delving into the opportunities and challenges that all aspects of the development and roll-out pose. 

Accompanying this Working Paper is the Technical Considerations for the Development of (Child) Sex Offender Registries, which provides points of consideration for countries contemplating developing or reviewing their own registry. 

The report underscores a fundamental principle: the best way to stop child sexual abuse and exploitation is to prevent it before it happens. It emphasises that sex offender registries should be complemented by educational and public awareness campaigns for children and caregivers, as well as interventions targeted at potential offenders. 

Sendrine Constant, ECPAT’s Director of Research, Learning, and Communication, stressed the need for a balanced approach: 

“Child sex offender registries need to be considered as one potential element of a larger system a country has to put in place to protect children and monitor the safe reintegration of persons who have been convicted of child sexual offences after they serve their sentence.” 

Other key insights include: 

  • Risk-Based Monitoring: The report advocates for a risk-assessment approach to registered offenders, focusing on the actual threat they pose, rather than relying solely on the categorisation of their offences. 
  • Multi-Agency Synergy: The effective development and maintenance of a sex offender registry require seamless collaboration between criminal justice and law enforcement agencies. 
  • International Cooperation: Prioritise cross-border data sharing to close gaps in tracking offenders internationally, ensuring better child protection across borders. 
  • Resource and Focus Allocation: The report encourages a thorough evaluation of the financial and operational investments in registries in the context of their overall effectiveness and broader prevention efforts. 

Click here to read an Executive Summary of the key learnings.
Click here to read the in-depth Working Paper.
Click here to read the Technical Considerations document. 


About ECPAT International:
ECPAT International stands as a united front of 126 civil society organisations spread across over 100 nations, each passionately committed to the shared vision of eradicating the sexual exploitation of children. Harnessing the power of over three decades of experience in multi-stakeholder engagement and partnership management, our expansive network operates on national, regional, and global levels. We relentlessly drive forward, fuelled by the conviction that every child deserves a world free from sexual exploitation.

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