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Lie tests to beat rapists

Herald Sun
Lie test plan to stop rape
By TANYA GILES
31 July 2002

SEX offenders would be forced to take regular lie detector tests after their release from prison under a plan to stop them re-offending.

Police also would be given the power to use any information obtained from the hi-tech tests to launch new investigations and help victims.

The proposal, prepared by an FBI-trained forensic polygraph expert, is based on a program used in 36 US states and is being considered in Britain.

The State Government said it would consider any proposal by law enforcement agencies.

The Opposition promised to introduce the tests if elected.

Victims-of-crime support groups also backed the plan.

The expert behind the plan believes random lie detector tests would help stop pedophiles and rapists.

Steven Van Aperen, who regularly helps police on high-profile homicide cases, said polygraph testing had been shown to control the behaviour of sex offenders back in the community.

“The reality is, parole or probation officers cannot supervise sex offenders 24 hours a day,” he said.

“The advantage of polygraph surveillance is that it can regulate and control the behaviour of sex offenders. It acts as an artificial conscience.”

Under the US programs, sex offenders volunteer to sit lie detector tests every three to 12 months. The tests, which they pay for, are a condition of their parole.

If the parolee fails a test, they face further investigation, increased parole supervision and other sanctions.

Mr Van Aperen said other benefits included:

  • IDENTIFYING previously unknown victims who can be counselled and help police.
  • REDUCING the prison population and its costs.
  • CATCHING recidivists.
  • PROVIDING more effective parole supervision.

An eight-year US study of 173 sex offenders in Oregon, who submitted to polygraph tests and counselling as a condition of their parole, found that 95 per cent had no subsequent sex crime convictions, 89 per cent had no new criminal convictions, 96 per cent had no new felony convictions and 65 per cent had no parole violations.

Opposition police spokesperson Kim Wells said Victorians needed protection from repeat sex offenders who destroyed innocent lives.

“We will be hell-bent on introducing this as a priority. Community safety is paramount,” he said. “When sex offenders go to jail they are being punished, they are not being cured.

“The issue is that when they are released back into the community, they are highly likely to re-offend. The Liberal Party will make it a priority to introduce polygraph testing for sex offenders on parole.”

A spokesperson for Police Minister Andre Haermeyer, Joel Deane, said the Government would consider any requests by law enforcement authorities for mandatory polygraph testing of sex offenders on parole.

Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said he too often saw victims of sex offenders who had suffered trauma, nervous breakdowns and even committed suicide and anything that could be done to prevent sex offenders re-offending was worthwhile. “We are right behind it,” he said.

He called on the Government to examine the introduction of polygraph testing and electronic tagging of pedophiles.

“They have got to be prepared to bite the bullet and do something about it,” he said.

The move comes as community outrage continues over sex offenders in Victoria continuing to attack while on parole.

Pedophile Andrew Timothy Davies, 34, of Ardeer, was convicted this month of abducting two six-year-old girls and digitally raping them in a classroom — an attack similar to others he had inflicted on young girls.

Davies was last jailed in 1998 for breaking a community-based order by being caught in the girls’ toilets of a Melbourne primary school.

Victoria’s most vicious serial rapist, Peter Dupas, who terrorised women for more than 20 years, often offended while on parole.

Only two months after being freed from jail for raping a woman at knifepoint in Mitcham, Dupas raped a woman and stabbed an elderly lady in Frankston.

Again, only one month after being released from prison in 1985, he raped a woman at knifepoint at Blairgowrie back beach.

Mr Van Aperen, director of Australian Polygraph Services, said polygraph testing was used by law enforcement agencies in more than 50 countries.

The test measures involuntary physiological changes including heartbeat, blood pressure and respiratory patterns.

If the examiner is properly trained, tests are reportededly 95 to 100 per cent accurate, he said.

The homicide squad regularly uses polygraph tests.

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