Sex offenders in Colorado are no longer to be called sex offenders, after the state’s Sex Offender Management Board ruled the term had ‘negative impacts on those who commit sex offences’.
In a decision that has sparked controversy among campaigners for survivors of sexual assault, the board, which is made up of public defenders and prosecutors, voted 10-6 to replace the term ‘sex offenders’ with a new phrase: ‘adults who commit sexual offences.’
The board heard testimony from convicted sex offenders, among them Derek Logue, who argued that ‘referring to me by a label for something I did half my life ago is inappropriate and downright offensive’. Others in favour of the change argued that it would help reduce re-offending among those in rehabilitation programs.
However several members of the board spoke out against the proposals, including Colorado prosecutor Jessica Dotter, who said the change could be perceived as ‘an intent to remove accountability from offenders and to diminish the experience of the victims’.
Speaking to KCNC-TV Kimberly Corbin, a rape survivor who attended the meeting to oppose the changes, said:
I’m involved today after hearing that it would be improper or offensive in some manner for me to refer to the man who raped me, as a sex offender.
It’s very, very damaging for those who people who are labeled 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.
According to CBS2, the board considered five alternative terms, before settling on the new first-person phrase. Public defender Kathy Herron said the terminology ‘strikes a balance that honours the impact to victims and recognises the current and ongoing impacts of sexual assault but also avoids the labeling term that has negative impacts on those who commit sex offences’.
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Topics: News, Colorado, Now, Sexual Assault