Bragi Gudbrandsson, director of the Government Agency for Child Protection, said it is important for the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, to pass laws enabling the monitoring of sex offenders who pose the most danger to children.
Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“In Iceland there is nothing to permit the authority to monitor sex offenders who have served their sentences,” Gudbrandsson told Fréttabladid.
The Government Agency for Child Protection suggested legal amendments to that regard last year but they weren’t approved by the parliament’s Social Affairs Committee.
Gudbrandsson would like a risk assessment to be carried out on individuals found guilty of the sexual abuse of children.
“Those who are found to have strong sexual tendencies towards children should be monitored after they finish serving their sentences. This has proven very successful in the US and the UK, for example,” Gudbrandsson said.
The arrangement involves that such individuals are visited regularly and have to fulfill certain conditions, Gudbrandsson explained.
“For example, they are not allowed to be alone with children. If they do, it equates to violation. Their closest neighbors could also be warned about them,” he said.
Strict restrictions are necessary in the case of some offenders, Gudbrandsson added. “Many try to refrain from abusing children but they cannot help it because the inclination is so strong. There are even examples where offenders themselves welcome being monitored.”
Even though such an arrangement would restrain personal freedom, Gudbrandsson said it is justifiable. Great interests are at stake in the case of potential victims.
“I believe it is our duty to do everything in our power to prevent children from falling victim to such people. This legal amendment would definitely save many children in the future,” he stated.
“We can do so much better with the most recent case being a good example of that,” Gudbrandsson said, referring to a repeat offender being convicted last week of having sexually abused a young boy for years despite the boy’s mother having been warned by the police of the man’s history.
“This man has been given five verdicts in one decade. It tells us that the threat of punishment isn’t a deterrent in this instance,” Gudbrandsson concluded.
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