Faced with a sky-high re-offend rate for pedophiles, one province in Australia might be set to do something drastic.
A government task force in New South Wales, the most heavily populated province in Australia that includes Sydney, is debating whether or not they should use drugs to “chemically castrate” pedophiles convicted of child sex offenses.
The task force consists of police, government agents, and victims groups–all of whom want to see, obviously, the re-offense rate go down.
By law, convicts are already allowed to voluntarily undergo chemical castration, but the task force is debating whether or not it could be a forced sentencing option in criminal courts.
Australia’s Justice Minister, Troy Grant, announced the proposal as just one of the options that the task force is debating.
“One of the worrying statistics that came out of our investigation is that up to 17 per cent of child sex offenders are likely to reoffend in two years,” he said. “We must do everything possible to reduce that figure.”
Chemical castration involves taking a drug that will render the convict sterile and impotent, and dramatically reduce their libido. The idea is that, if they can’t have sex to begin with, they won’t target children.
But some critics in Australia are claiming that chemical castration just simply won’t work–and that the task force is simply playing politics in the run up to an election.
Brett Collins, who works for Justice Action, an activist group that focuses on abuses of government authority, said the facts just simply aren’t there.
“We actually know that [chemical castration] hasn’t been effective for them anyway,” he said. “The issues are much larger… there are personality issues, there are issues involved with a range of self-esteem issues as well.”
Justice Minister Grant realizes that the issue is controversial–and explained that’s one of the reasons why the task force is debating the issue.
“I understand there’s some reservations by some in the medical field in relation to the effectiveness of chemical castration, or the use of anti-libido medication,” he said.
“It is working in other areas and I want it to work here, because we need to have every sentencing option to protect every child from the predators that are sex offenders.”
The task force will report its recommendation to the New South Wales government by the end of the year.