News of a Facebook page identifying Bermuda’s convicted sex offenders drew a swift response from the group SCARS — a charity devoted to combating child sexual abuse.
The site, drawn from public information, was created by a local father in response to the absence of a public register of sex offenders.
SCARS president Debi-Ray Rivers said the group “applauds the passion” of the site’s creator.
She added: “A sex offender list is a necessity; however, it is addressing the problem after an offence has already been committed.
“It is widely recognised that 88 percent of all child sexual abuse goes unreported and that more than 90 percent of the time this selfish crime is committed by someone we know, love and trust.”
The group, formed last year, has called for legislative changes, including the creation of a sex offenders list, and electronic monitoring of offenders.
Noting that “stepping into the spotlight is difficult”, Ms Rivers said the maker of the Facebook list Bermuda Pedo’s (sic) had “joined the battle” against abuse.
“Paedophiles are master manipulators and will carefully and patiently groom their victims. It is common for victims to feel ashamed and as though the abuse was something that they caused.”
She added: “We are quick to call the police when someone steals our TV, jewellery or other personal belongings, but not so quick when a relative or friend steals a child’s innocence.”
The group also reported that 25 staff members of Child and Family Services, and the police Vulnerable Persons and Serious Crime Units, have now been given its Stewards of Children training certification.
By Jonathan Bell The Royal Gazette