Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Is Castration of Sex Offenders the answer?

I notice that Moldova's Parliament has passed a law introducing compulsory chemical castration for sex offenders who violently abuse children under the age of 15. The BBC has reported on the story here. One of the justifications is apparently because "Many Moldavians believe their country has become a destination for international sex tourists".

The subject has been debated for many years. The point is that child sex offenders do not have a disease which is curable with drugs like paranoia or schizophrenia mental disorders, which are treatable. Paedophilia is a sexual preference for children, instead of adults, which cannot be cured.

Whilst sex offender programs attempt to address the problem with the individual, it is of no use if the offender is in denial. It also does not get rid of the sexual urge, and fantasising, which many offenders indulge in on the Internet. More and more often, in the news, we now hear of offenders accused of abusing and grooming children being also charged with Internet porn offences.

There are several questions:-

  1. Does the treatment work? Research has revealed that of the 104 people operated on between 1970 and 1980 in Germany, only 3% reoffended, compared with nearly half of those who refused castration or were denied it by the authorities. Some say the treatment is reversible.
  2. Is the operation an infringement of human rights? European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) have complained to Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia about their laws. Amnesty International Moldova has condemned the decision, saying it undermines the basic right to physical and mental integrity. Executive Director Cristina Pereteatcu said chemical castration was "incompatible with human rights, which are the foundation of any civilised democratic society".
  3. Should the operation be compulsory? - in Germany it is voluntary, but in Moldova it will be compulsory. CPT say that it is "questionable" whether consent to surgical castration "will always be truly free and informed".
One has to look again at castration as one solution to the problem of sex offending which ruins the life of the victim, renders them almost unemployable, unable to have relationships with the same or the opposite sex, and deeply distrustful of any authority figure. If it can only spare one poor soul from abuse, it is arguably worth looking at by the government.

Personally, I would be against compulsory treatment, but would probably be open to persuasion. If you look at the list of countries which have introduced it, many of whom are civilised libertarian nations, then it must warrant serious consideration. From my research it has been made law in

United States of Iowa, California, Montana, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, and Florida
South Korea

So what are we waiting for in Britain?

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