Child rapists may be forced to undergo chemical castration
CHILD sex offenders may face chemical castration as the NSW Government launches a taskforce to investigate whether the penalty will stop them reoffending.
Six victim groups will join police, human rights lobbyists and health and law groups to deliver recommendations on the proposal to the government by the end of the year.
Limited voluntary chemical castration is already available to NSW sex offenders in prison, but cannot be enforced by courts.
Justice and Police Minister Troy Grant said the taskforce would examine the introduction of a sentencing option for judges to order an offender into urge-stifling treatment.
"Child sex offenders leave their victims with life-long trauma, and I am determined that our whole justice system, from the courts through to corrections, protects children as a priority," he said.
Should people convicted of child sex offences be forced to undergo chemical castration?
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"Anti-libidinal medication alone is not a cure-all, but I want to make sure we make the very best possible use of it, combined with other strong measures, to prevent reoffending.
"If we make can make improvements that save just one child from this horrendous crime, it will be worth it."
Chemical castration does not remove sexual organs.
Nor does it render a man sterile.
It involves the administering of drugs, including long-acting birth control drug Depo-Provera, to drive down testosterone levels, severely reduce sexual drive and cause impotence.
Sex offenders would have to regularly undergo the treatment or its effects would wear off.
The process is also used in the treatment of hormone-dependant cancers, including certain prostate cancers, as a less invasive alternative to surgical castration.
Victims of Crime Assistance League vice-president Howard Brown said the investigation had his support.
"There are a lot of advances overseas in this field of treatment, and this is an opportunity to look at new types of treatment and the sort of treatment regimes that get the best results," he said.
"This is an important opportunity to work on the job of lowering reoffending in NSW."
A Law Society of NSW spokesman said the taskforce would consider the treatment's effectiveness and review other options such as psychological treatments, to reduce reoffending.
"However, mandatory chemical castration would not be supported," he said.
Chemical castration in the past
CHEMICAL castration is not a magic potion and has already failed on occasion, despite its relative youth as a form of treatment.
Convicted New Zealand pedophile Robert Jason Dittmer attacked a teenager while undergoing voluntary treatment at "a comparatively high dose" in 2000.
Its effectiveness was also cast in doubt when a Queensland man was found not guilty of inappropriately touching a seven-year-old girl he was babysitting in 2010.
The jury had not been told he was a convicted child sex offender and had been voluntarily chemically castrated - although his treatment had ended when he was released from prison.
Court-ordered chemical castration laws are already in place in Russia, South Korea, Moldova and Estonia.
Several other countries are considering the matter.
Members of the NSW Parliament-appointed group include:
- Victims of Crime Assistance League
- Homicide Victims' Support Group
- Enough is Enough
- Adults Surviving Child Abuse
- Survivors and Mates Support Network
- Corrective Services NSW
- Department of Premier and Cabinet
- Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network
- NSW Health
- NSW Police Force
- Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
- Public Defenders Office
- NSW Bar Association
- Law Society of NSW