More, longer, tougher… or is it finally time for a different approach to the post-sentence management of sex offenders in Australia?

Lorana BARTELS, Jamie Walvisch, Kelly Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The public desire to ‘do something’ about sex offenders has led juridictions around the world to introduce a range of post-sentence measures, such as sex offender registries, community notification and preventive detention. In Australia, the pace of legislative reform in this area has been particularly frenetic since 2016, with almost all jurisdictions enacting at least one substantive piece of legislation. This article analyses these recent reforms, arguing that while they have been extensive in number, they have not been extensive in nature: governments have simply sought to do more of the same, even though there is little evidence to suggest that this is likely to improve community safety.

By contrast, evaluations of some more innovative approaches that have been taken to managing sex offenders suggest that these approaches may be effective in assisting those offenders to reintegrate into communities and in reducing reoffending. The article discusses three of these approaches: Circles of Support and Accountability; Chaperone Programs; and Support and Awareness Groups. We suggest that, if governments are truly committed to the goal of enhancing community safety, approaches of this nature seem a better target for public investment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-57
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Criminal Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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