x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Support for a sex-offenders list

Seventy per cent of respondents said they would support the establishment of a publicly accessible register of sex offenders, complete with their addresses.

After the rape and murder of a four-year-old boy in Dubai in November, it emerged that one of the first acts by the police had been to question all the known sex offenders in the neighbourhood. Following this case, 70 per cent of respondents said they would support the establishment of a publicly accessible register of sex offenders, complete with their addresses. Such schemes are in operation in various countries, including the UK and the US.

In the US, a list of offenders, with photographs and details, is open to parents; in the UK people such as head teachers, doctors and even landlords have access to the list on a supposedly confidential basis. Such schemes are not without critics, however, a fact possibly reflected in a degree of hesitation among westerners, 13 per cent of whom would oppose a list for the UAE; another 15 per cent were undecided.

In fact, indecision on this issue was widespread. Overall, only eight per cent opposed a register, but 21 per cent were unsure. Uncertainty was greatest among Asians (27 per cent) and Emiratis (22 per cent). Overall, women were no more supportive of a register of sex offenders than men.