Parents will be notified by mail of sex offenders

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Parents will be notified by mail of sex offenders

The government will notify families with children under the age of 18 by mail of child sex offenders’ exact addresses from Jan. 1. The measure is an effort to expand access to the information after constituents complained that the current Internet-based system was too burdensome.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said in a report to the president yesterday that it will launch the service through the postal system because of inconveniences that occur when parents try to access the child sex offender registry through the ministry’s Web site.

The Internet-based system requires users to install a number of security programs on their computers and input real-name identification information, which was found to be a hindrance to accessing the portal’s information.

The Web site gives parents access to a sex offender’s name, photo, age and criminal convictions. It informs parents that an offender lives in their district without revealing his exact address. The mailing service, however, will reveal offenders’ addresses.

The mailing service will only give the exact addresses of offenders who have been convicted from Jan. 1 next year. Those convicted before will not have their exact address disclosed.

The ministry has been struggling to deal with rising incidences of crimes committed against children. A revision of the Youth Sex Protection Law in April enables the ministry to reveal personal information of child offenders to the public.

The government also plans to distribute a so-called Child Safety Map, which will highlight crime-ridden streets, sex offenders’ homes, surveillance cameras and counseling centers, to protect children from sex crimes. The map will be distributed in 16 cities starting in late 2011.

The ministry said it will ask local education offices and civil servants to distribute the maps in schools.

By Kim Hee-jin []
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