Concerns over 45 sex offenders

Sexual abuse can dstroy the lives of people of all ages. Picture posed by model.
Sexual abuse can dstroy the lives of people of all ages. Picture posed by model.
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A TOTAL of 45 registered sex offenders live in the Craigavon area, new police figures have revealed.

The statistics, which include the Lurgan and Portadown areas, were published in a Freedom of Information request.

Peter Lockhart, manager for Nexus in Portadown and Belfast, an organisation which helps those who have suffered the trauma of sex abuse, said local people need reassurances about how great the risk is from these offenders.

“If I were living in these areas I would be concerned too,” he said.

He pointed out that while much focus at the moment is on the shocking case of Jimmy Savile, 60 per cent of sexual abuse happens within the victim’s own home.

“The vast majority of sexual abuse happens in the family home,” he said.

“It is safer to know where these perpetrators are and that their activities are closely monitored,” he said.

He stressed that while the figures are alarming, he claimed the reality is there are sexual offenders on every street.

“As much as we understand people’s concerns, as a society it is actually everywhere,” said Mr Lockhart.

He said the Public Protection Arrangements NI which is a multi-agency organisation set up to monitor the activities of registered sex offenders.

The latest figures from PPANI state that total number of persons in the community whose risk is managed under the multi-agency public protection arrangements in the Craigavon area is six.

Mr Lockhart said there were 15 category 3 sex offenders in Northern Ireland, 11 of which were in prison and four in the community. These are offenders who represent a high risk of reoffending. There are 285 category 2 offenders, 75 of which are in prison and 210 in the community. These are offenders who ‘could cause serious harm’.

There are no category one sex offenders registered in Northern Ireland. That is the lowest category which represents low risk to the community.

Another FoI revealed that there are currently 930 notifiable sex offenders in NI.

Over the past five years the number of sex offenders who were returned to prison for breaking the terms of a Sex Offenders Prevention Order between October 2008/2009 was eight; between January 2010 October 2010 there were five.

When asked by the Mail the reason for the disparity in figures published by PPANI and the PSNI, a PSNI spokesperson said: “PPANI are not responsible for all sex offenders within NI and we believe this accounts for the apparent discrepancy in the statistics.”