NZ Herald

Child sex offenders being monitored drops, as rules change

THERE are more than 3000 child sex offenders being monitored across the state but their whereabouts is a closely guarded secret.

The law prohibits their location being made available to the public.

Bravehearts criminologist Carol Ronken said legislative changes last year had seen the number of people on the register being monitored drop significantly.

She said it was because of amendments in the legislation around reporting requirements

"Under the changes, those people convicted of one offence were previously required to report for an eight year period, but that has been reduced to five years," she said.

"Similarly, those convicted of two or more offences were previously required to report for 15 years, but that also was reduced to five years.

"But they are now required to report quarterly compared to annually as was the case before the changes came into effect."

Queensland Police Service figures reveal there are 3032 Queenslanders listed on the National Child Offender System compared to 4762 less than 18 months ago.

Ms Ronken said education and awareness programs were working and people were more likely to report incidents these days than ever before.

She said the issue was no longer a taboo topic.

"We are seeing the issue of child sexual assault plastered all over the media these days," she said.

"What we are seeing is the shame, silence and secrecy surrounding child sexual assault being broken down.

"People are talking about the issue and more and more people, especially children, are reporting offences."

Ms Ronken said the organisation did not support the establishment of a public child sex offender register despite continued calls for one to be established.

She said going down that avenue could be problematic.

"Research shows it can actually have an unintended consequence where offenders go underground and not report to police as required for fear of being publicly outed," she said.

"A register can also give people a false sense of security because only a handful of child sex offenders are actually caught."

People who commit sexual or other serious offences against children are required to keep police informed of their whereabouts and other personal details following their release into the community.

Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller said in a statement that the Palaszczuk Government had no plans to introduce a publicly available sex offenders register.

- APN NEWSDESK.

 


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