Campaign to out sex offenders
MEMBER for Burnett Rob Messenger is leading the charge to make sex offenders’ registers public with a proposal to bring in an Australian version of the USA’s “Megan’s Law”.
Mr Messenger and child protection activist Heather Steinberg say they want the locations of sex offenders made public to help parents protect their children, and the pair have began drafting a Sexual Offenders Register Bill.
“Most parents would be shocked at how many dangerous sex offenders are released into the community in secret,” Mr Messenger said.
“There could be one of these offenders living next door to you and you would never know.”
Mr Messenger said while he believed most people would want these dangerous offenders kept behind bars, most were eventually sent back into the community.
“The people against the register are talking about civil rights, but what about the rights of the parents and grandparents to know who is living next door?” he said.
“The focus now needs to be on the victims and the potential victims.”
Mr Messenger referred to statistics mentioned in parliament last year that showed many offenders got away with more crimes than they were convicted of.
“If you can call a rapist ordinary, rapists – being non-child rapists – were surveyed in this study,” he said.
“The question that was essentially put to these people was, ‘how many rapes did you get away with before you were caught and convicted?’ On average, it was about 7.5.
“When that question was placed to recidivist child sex offenders, the number rose from around 7.5 to more than 70. For every victim we hear about, there are a mountain of people before them.”
Mr Messenger and Ms Steinberg will meet in Hervey Bay on November 13 to work on the draft Bill and are urging the community to get involved.