US state of Colorado scraps term 'sex offender', calling it a negative label

Colorado's Denver County Court. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board has passed a motion that replaces the term "sex offender" with "adults who commit sexual offences".

Rape survivors say the move will stop offenders from being held accountable, while those in favour of the change claim it could reduce the chances of reoffending.

One survivor, Kimberly Corbin, told local news station CBS 4 she should be able to label the man who raped her a sex offender. 

"It's very, very damaging for those who people who are labelled when it has to do with gender, race, sexuality, ability but those are not their choices. The biggest thing for me is these are choices that sex offenders make."

But by a 10-6 vote, the board on Friday approved a motion to scrap the term.

The term won't be removed from the state's justice system itself but will be removed from the board's guiding policies and principles on how they treat offenders, The Denver Post reported.

"I think this strikes a balance that honours the impact to victims and recognises the current and ongoing impacts of sexual assault but also avoids the labelling term that has negative impacts on those who commit sex offences," said defence lawyer Kathy Heffron, who was in favour of the move.

Earlier this year, a proposed Colorado law that would have scrapped the term "sexually violent predator" from even the justice system failed to pass.