Monsters in our Midst? Examining the Construction of Sex Offenders in Canadian Policy and Media
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In Canada, like elsewhere, surveillance tools have been increasingly used by the state to keep track of sex offenders. One such tool in Canada is the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR). Understanding the complexity of the NSOR, and the basis upon which it was implemented, is critical to determine whether it is a justifiable and effective response to sexual violence in Canada. This thesis explores what key events and arguments led to the registry’s implementation in Canada. Data consists of House of Commons parliamentary debates and media articles from The Globe and Mail. Findings suggest that the debate process was perfunctory and that sex offenders were constructed in various ways in order to justify harsh punitive sanctions against them. The findings illustrate that the NSOR is premised on fundamental misunderstandings of sexual violence in Canada, and therefore may not be considered a justifiable response to such crimes.