Canada's sex offender registries: Background, implementation, and social policy considerations

Murphy, Lisa; Fedoroff, Paul; Martineau, Melissa
July 2009
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2009, Vol. 18 Issue 1/2, p61
Academic Journal
Canada currently has two sex offender registries (SORs): The Ontario Sex Offender Registry (OSOR) established in 2001 and the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) established in 2004. Both SOR databases contain information (e.g., photo, age, address, type of offence, and victim characteristics) of individuals convicted of sex offences (e.g., sexual assault, sexual interference, computer child luring, child pornography). Placement on an SOR in Canada lasts from 10 years to life. This article reviews the background and development of the OSOR and NSOR in Canada. Current issues such as balancing the privacy rights of sex offenders with the interests of the community, as well as existing research on SORs, are discussed. It is noted that although the U.S. SORs and the two Canadian SORs provide information to law enforcement agencies, Canada does not make this information available to the general public whereas the U.S. does. This difference between the two countries may explain the much higher compliance with SOR orders in Canada compared to the U.S. The authors suggest that additional research is needed to more accurately access the effectiveness of the Canadian SORs.


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