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Our View: Paedophiles should not be given the opportunity to offend again

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While the ‘Me Too’ movement in Cyprus is gaining greater traction within the justice system as more women speak up, there are children on this island with equally terrible things happening to them and hundreds if not thousands will never see justice.

These child victims of sexual abuse will grow into adulthood and go through life psychologically scarred and dysfunctional and without help because they were too scared to speak up. They will be impacted in ways they don’t even realise, from simply not trusting other adults to being unable to forge relationships, and in the worst-case scenarios, also become victimisers themselves.

Technology is helping police track down more and more cases of possession of child porn. On the flip side of course, without technology, these perverts would not have access to child porn in the first place, but at least it may help law enforcement keep tabs on who may have the propensity to take their sick obsession over into real life.

The supreme court this week pondered the questions in the case of an appeal by a serial paedophile, who as far as we know from the case details, has destroyed nine children’s lives directly. How many more did he get away with? The court suggested re-examining the sentences as the man in question was allowed out halfway through a 20-year jail term after which he offended again.

Clearly, 10 years in jail did not deter him so it’s doubtful even if he had spent the full 20 years inside, or even 30 that he would come out a changed man. Setting someone like that free at the age of 50, 60 or even 70 does not mean more children will not become his victims.

MPs talk a lot about sex offender registries, ankle bracelets and other probably unenforceable deterrents after the fact. There may be some who are punished and learn from it, realise they have a sickness and try to get help, but it would be a huge risk to assume, like an alcoholic, that they would not be tempted again. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Maybe it’s time authorities started looking into chemical castration, unless Cyprus is prepared to lock these people up for life. Maybe it should. Legislation allowing chemical castration exists in France, the UK, Poland, Russia, Macedonia, Belgium and Turkey. Many offenders voluntarily take that route after jail time. In some of these countries it is forced. Apparently, it works and is reversible if it comes to that.

Although a great many paedophiles were themselves victims as children, they clearly know what they are doing is wrong because the only way to accomplish their goal is clandestinely, through coercion and threats against the most vulnerable members of society. There is no excusing them. Everyone has a choice to act or not. Paedophiles may not always kill their victims, but they do take away their lives.

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