• Mon, May 24 2010

Public Policy: Do Accused Rapists Deserve Privacy Protection?

photo: Thinkstock

We all know the sites you can visit to find out how many sex offenders live or work near you. It’s seen as a measure of public safety to keep the community informed of their whereabouts. It also may be another form of punishment for the offender; a reminder that they’ve lost all privacy. In England and Wales, there’s a movement to keep the identities of rapists anonymous.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition thinks the fact that the victim is unnamed, but the accused is identified, creates a double standard. Great Britain tried not naming accused sex offenders once before for 12 years, but the policy was eventually repealed because it was impeding police investigations; authorities wanted other victims who had been attacked by the accused to come forward, which victims can’t do unless the accused is named.

We understand that this may be different in cases where defendants are falsely accused, but it seems to us that while rape victims deserve to be protected from the resulting emotional trauma and potential stigma, rapists don’t deserve that same protection. The names of those who are accused of everything from petty crimes to murder are released to the public – rape shouldn’t be different.

What do you think – should the names of accused sex offenders be public record? Let us know in the comments section, below.

via Salon

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