A bill before the House, entitled the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, will, if passed, change the repercussions for people convicted of sexual assault. While there currently exists a sex offender registry is kept confidential with police and the Ministry having the only access. This bill will establish a new database, the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database, which will be made available to the public.
The database will contain the personal information of individuals convicted of sexual offences against children and who pose a high risk of recommitting crimes of a sexual nature. The exact definition of "high risk" is not defined in the Bill, and will be defined at a later date in the regulations. The information that will be made public about the individuals includes: their name; their date of birth; their gender; their physical description, including any physical distinguishing marks that they might have; a photograph of them; a description of offences they have committed; any condition to which they are subject; and the name of the city, town, municipality or other organized district in which they reside.
Previously, a conviction for sexual assault might result in media coverage, but in most cases, the accused would be able to serve their sentence and continue on with their life. The impact of this legislation on the privacy of people charged and convicted of sexual assault would be severe, and demonstrates the importance of retaining counsel to vigorously defend charges of sexual assault. The potential sentences can be quite serious, and shortly there will be the potential of having one's personal information made available for anyone to see.