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


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Bartels, L, Gelb, K, Spiranovic, C ORCID: 0000-0002-5270-8719, Warner, K, Roberts, L and Davis, J 2020 , 'What does the public think about sex offender registers? Findings from a national Australian study' , Psychiatry, Psychology and Law , pp. 1-19 , doi: 10.1080/13218719.2020.1805813.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Bartels, L and Gelb, K and Spiranovic, C and Warner, K and Roberts, L and Davis, J
Keywords: Australia, jurors, public opinion, sentencing, sex offender registers
Journal or Publication Title: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
ISSN: 1321-8719
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/13218719.2020.1805813
Copyright Information:

© 2020 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychiatry, Psychology and Law on 11 September 2020, available online:

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