Bravehearts says more than a register is required to keep children safe

by Freya Lucas

January 14

Child protection organisation Bravehearts have called on the Federal Government to enact “effective solutions” to the issue of protecting children from registered sex offenders, saying that legislation and policy must rely on evidence to back up its effectiveness, and labelling the proposed National Sex Offender Registry as being an insufficient measure to protect children.

 

“It is so frustrating that Governments are really good at child protection rhetoric but when it comes to actually protecting children the consistently fail.” Chair and Founder of Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston AM said.

 

“I understand totally why the government is doing this and I understand 100 per cent why the public might want to support it.” Ms Johnson said, before adding that “when you look at the facts, it is clear that this solution simply does not work to protect children. It makes the community feel better but it does not protect our children.”

 

Ms Johnson said that if the Federal Government was serious about protecting children, they would support calls from Bravehearts for a Royal Commission into the Family Law System and they would toughen up laws that currently release offenders back into communities.

 

“The bottom line is that all dangerous and repeat sex offenders should not be on a register, they should be in jail. No offender should be released until the risk they pose is of a level that can be managed in the community. A register will not keep children safe,” she said.

 

Solutions, according to Bravehearts, lie not in a register, but in “tougher sentencing, continued detention, community awareness and compulsory effective personal safety education for all children and young people three – eighteen.”

 

Expressing disappointment, Ms Johnson said that “Bravehearts support all proposals that would stop child sex offenders having access to children but our tough, rational and effective proposals are consistently rejected by the Federal Government.”

 

Citing laws from the United States of America, Ms Johnson said that the ability of a public register alone to achieve what current laws have failed to do has shown to be limited, even where the laws have been enacted for a significant period of time.

 

Bravehearts position paper on the matter may be accessed here

 

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