16 June 2015
Rolf Harris and Why Remorse is Relevant before Early Release
Rolf Harris did more than simply reveal contempt for his victims when he wrote a revolting song denouncing them. He also exposed a criminal justice system that pays little attention to whether sex offenders show any kind of remorse.
In June 2014, Harris was jailed for five years and nine months for 12 indecent assaults on four girls – one as young as eight.
But beyond that headline jail term, many people will not be aware that Harris will automatically be entitled to release after serving just half that term – no matter how little remorse he shows.
And he writes with all the hubris of a man who feels secure in the knowledge he will free by the end of May 2017, a detail the Ministry of Justice reportedly confirmed to the media this week.
Some may have hoped that Harris’ conviction and time in prison – no matter how brief - would have marked the beginning of his reform and rehabilitation.
However, if his rants from his cell in HMP Stafford are anything to go by, his incarceration appears to have fuelled his perverse sense of indignation and confirmed that he still resolutely refuses to show any remorse for his appalling crimes.
Few can be in any doubt about the lasting harm Harris’ crimes have had on his victims.
They are incensed by his rantings. Harris is either unable or unwilling to comprehend the magnitude of damage that he has caused through his sexual violation of young, vulnerable people.
In fact, Harris resorts to victim blaming, a tactic used all too frequently by offenders and their apologists.
The women Harris abused showed incredible courage to come forward and face down a powerful celebrity in court.
They did not “climb up out of the woodwork babe, from forty years ago” in an attempt at “making loads of dough”, as Harris says in his vile scribblings.
Anyone who holds that view, or tries to downplay his crimes as normal behaviour of a man from another era, plays into his hands.
Anyone who comments that victims should not make a fuss after all these years, anyone who tweets that his victims are ‘in it for fame’ or money, anyone that criticises women for putting themselves in danger by wearing the wrong sort of clothes or looking a certain way, adds to the offenders’ twisted sense that they are the real victims.
Anyone who blames the victims for what they have gone through, and are still going through, just helps Harris who will do everything in his power to distract from the horrible reality of his sordid crimes.
When society doesn’t stand up to victim blaming it allows offenders to get away without feeling any remorse, like Harris, who is utterly unchanged by his time behind bars.
No doubt Harris will walk free with the same sense of superiority and total disdain for his victims, which was a trait of his offending and which led to him escaping justice for so long.
While his victims will spend the rest of their lives dealing with the harm and torment his crimes have caused, Harris will be free to begin rebuilding his life within a couple of years.
The people he abused, and we as society, have every right to wonder what kind of justice is that.
Our Abuse Lawyers represent all of Rolf Harris' victims and has been quoted in widespread media over the last few days over the recent Mail on Sunday revelations.
Slater and Gordon's specialist team of Abuse Lawyers currently represent over 800 survivors of sexual abuse. For free, confidential legal advice call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and let us know where and when to call you.
All communication will be dealt with in strict confidence.
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