Peter Dutton

Last week, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced plans to create a federal public register of child sex offenders, a move he promised would deter criminals and ensure “parents are not in the dark”.

But the response from advocates and experts to the minister’s proposal has been muted, and for good reason. Evidence from countries where similar programs have been implemented suggests registers not only have limited deterrent effect but also leave offenders doubly punished, forced to live out their days as social pariahs long after their prison sentence has ended.