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The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill 2012: Is post-sentence detention of sex offenders consistent with human rights?

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posted on 14.11.2021, 04:53 by Moran, Jasmin

The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill 2012 was introduced by the National-led Government to address a perceived public safety problem relating to recidivist sex offenders. The Bill enables the detention of sex offenders beyond the expiration of their finite sentences, if they are seen as highly likely to reoffend. As such, the Bill raises a number of serious human rights issues. In response, the Attorney-General issued a statement contending the Bill was consistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. This article analyses the correctness of that statement, with a particular focus on whether the Bill is a form of civil committal and is, in substance, different to imprisonment. Drawing on case law from the United States and Australia, where similar post-sentence detention schemes operate, this paper suggests the Bill actively engages with human rights concerns. The conclusion reached is that the Bill appropriately balances the public safety interest and the basic human rights of sex offenders.


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Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Degree Name

LL.B. (Honours)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Research Paper or Project



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


Lynch, Nessa