MP wants schools notified if sex offenders are released into the community

There is a push within Parliament for it be compulsory for schools to be notified when sex offenders are released back into the community.

National's Waimakiriri MP Matt Doocey has lodged a Members' Bill that would require the Department of Corrections to tell schools about the placements of sex offenders in their area.

It's proposing all schools within five kilometres, or the nearest school if there are none within that radius, be notified of the placement.

 The Bill will require Corrections to notify schools 48 hours before the release of a sex offender into a community, or within 72 hours of housing the sex offender in a new residential address.

Doocey told Newshub that as a parent, he's outraged to think not all schools are informed.

"Schools need to be informed of a sex offender being placed nearby because they need to put in the risk management plans. Any parent would expect the school to be informed of this, put risk management plans in place and manage that risk for the pupils and their school."

The Bill suggests that when principals are notified by Corrections, the name, address and sentence or order imposed will be passed on by the probation officer.

The Waimakariri MP says he became concerned when two sex offenders were placed in his community without schools being notified.

Deputy National Commissioner Andy Milne said in a statement to Newshub that public safety is a top priority. 

 "We fully acknowledge that the location of offenders can be a concern for communities, and we work hard to balance this concern with our obligation to safely manage offenders in the community when they can no longer lawfully be detained in prison," he said. 

"Community notifications, in relation to specific offenders, are carried out on a case by case basis, with the primary consideration being whether it will enhance public safety and/or assist in the management of an offender's risk."

Doocey said he thinks Corrections could be doing better.

"I think potentially at times, the Department of Corrections could be taking the easy way out and not informing local schools. That's putting our children at risk. 

"That's why this Bill will mandate a requirement that every sex offender placed in a local community the local school will know about it. It will put plans in place, manage that risk and make informed decisions."

An online petition is also being launched calling on the Government to act on the issue.