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Criminal Checks for Santa's

SANTA CLAUSES and theme park workers in Queensland could soon face criminal background checks under moves to close loopholes that allow paedophiles to work with children.
Workers applying for such jobs would be checked out under the state's Blue Card system, which requires people working with children to undergo a criminal history review.
Child protection group Bravehearts has urged the government to plug loopholes in the system introduced five years ago after it was discovered that a convicted sex offender was working at an amusement park.
"To our horror, we discovered that people who work for Dreamworld, Movieworld, Seaworld, all of those places which are designed purpose-built to attract children, didn't have to have Blue Cards," said Hetty Johnston, Bravehearts' executive director.
"And that includes the Santas."
Ms Johnston said she had raised her concerns with Police Minister Judy Spence, who asked Premier Peter Beattie to look into the issue.
"Child sex offenders gravitate towards jobs that involve children," Ms Johnston said.
"There's no other job that involves children more graphic than the Santa, or the employer at a place that attracts children, like an amusement park."
Meanwhile, Brisbane's bikies showed their softer side today when they rode in convoy through the city to raise awareness of child sexual assault.
About 100 bikies, from groups including the Vietnam Vets and Hells Angels, rode their motorbikes on White Balloon Day, which capped off White Balloon Awareness Week.
"White Balloon Awareness Week is all about raising awareness of child sexual assault and it recognises that people from all walks of life with all different interests and all different backgrounds share the common interest to protect children," Ms Johnston said.
She said the week prompted the reporting of child abuse and sent a clear message to child sex perpetrators.
"To the perpetrators it says there's a culture of zero tolerance coming about in the community," she said.
"As the silence that has protected them for generations dissolves, their exposure to being caught increases and police forces around the country are coming to get them."
Bruce and Denise Morcombe, the parents of missing Sunshine Coast teenager Daniel Morcombe, have become the patrons of White Balloon Day.

AAP (10-4-2005)
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

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