Bravehearts tipped to work with Australian Government on National Public Register
The Australian Government has commenced national consultations on a proposal to establish a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders, making certain information about child sex offenders available on a publicly accessible website.
Bravehearts, the child protection organisation familiar to many in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector through their Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure education program, are one of a selection of non Government stakeholders expected to be involved in the consultation process around establishing the register.
A National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders would be the first of its kind in Australia, and consultations have begun with state and territory governments and law enforcement agencies, with non-government stakeholders to be involved in future.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, said a register would be an important measure to improve protections for families and children.
“It would have a strong deterrent effect on offenders and ensure that parents are not in the dark about whether a registered sex offender has access to their children,” he said.
Some states and territories already publicly release information about child sex offenders in specific circumstances. However, a nationally consistent approach would afford nationwide community protection and ensure offenders cannot evade public scrutiny.
Reports of child sexual abuse and exploitation in Australia continue to rise – reports to the Australian Federal Police soared by 77 per cent in 2018 over 2017.
Mr Dutton said the Federal Government was already making substantial efforts to protect children – including establishing the Australian Centre to Combat Child Exploitation – and a national public register of sex offenders would complement and enhance those efforts.
“It will send a clear message that Australia will not tolerate individuals preying on the most vulnerable members of the community – our children.I look forward to working with state and territory government and key non-government stakeholders on this important initiative,” Mr Dutton said.
Non-government stakeholders are expected to include the Law Council of Australia, National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Carly Ryan Foundation, Bravehearts, the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation and other interested child protection and advocacy groups.