PARENTS will be able to get online and find out exactly how many paedophiles are living in their suburb and see photos of their faces under major child-safety reforms proposed by Queensland’s opposition party.
The public sex offender register would allow parents to identify convicted child sex offenders living in their area.
The LNP plan, modelled on systems in Western Australia and the UK, would also allow parents to check the background of anyone who has regular unsupervised access to their children.
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LNP leader Deb Frecklington said protecting children was more important than protecting a paedophile’s identity.
“As a mum of three daughters, I believe every parent has the right to know if someone is a threat to their kids,” Ms Frecklington said on Saturday.
“If I become premier, I will do everything I can to stop kids being targeted by sexual predators.”
Ms Frecklington said strong safeguards would be put in place to prevent vigilante action against offenders.
Anyone who uses the register to harass a listed offender or distribute their photos or personal details will face up to 10 years’ in jail.
Anyone who uses false information to request a background check or misuses the information provided by police could be jailed for up to seven years’.
The Queensland Police Service already operates a Child Protection Offender Registry (CPOR), which requires child sex offenders to keep police informed of their whereabouts.
The LNP’s plan would provide parents with access to three tiers of information on sex offenders:
- Missing Offenders’ Register – Photos and personal details of offenders who fail to report to police and whose whereabouts are unknown will be published online for access by the public.
- Local Offender Search – Parents will be able to search their suburb and adjacent suburbs to view photographs of child sex offenders living in their community. Importantly, anyone accessing this information will face a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment if they harass a listed offender or distribute their photograph or personal details.
- Community Protection Disclosure Scheme – Parents or guardians will be able to apply to the police to inquire if a person who has regular, unsupervised contact with their child is a reportable sex offender. Anyone who uses false information to request a disclosure or misuses information provided by police could face seven years’ imprisonment.
Sharon Tomlinson was 12-years-old when she was raped at gunpoint by convicted child sex offender Robert Fardon and says the public register is needed to protect the public.
“The community has a right to this information,” Ms Tomlinson said.
“Parents need to know if there is an offender living in their midst.
“Nothing is more important than protecting our kids from sexual predators.”
Shadow Police Minister Trevor Watts said the public child sex offender legislation would be introduced if the LNP wins the next state election in October 2020.
“We can’t keep parents in the dark when it comes to their children’s safety,” Mr Watts said.
“If we can prevent one child from becoming the victim of sexual abuse these laws will be worth it.
“The use of similar laws in WA and the UK shows that they are effective and are used responsibly by the community.”