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Identifying where child molesters lives needs careful consideration

Identifying a child molester who might be living next door is a double-edged sword that needs careful consideration.
The welfare of children, or women who might find themselves the targets of an attack, clearly outweighs the safety of sex offenders in the public mind.
But there is the very real risk of vigilantism, which led to ugly scenes when a mob gathered outside the home of an abuser in Queensland.
The Victorian Government, in considering making the names and other details of sex offenders public, must not encourage what could lead to death or serious injury.
The Baillieu Government is looking at a website similar to the site put online this week by the West Australian Government.
People using the site must identify themselves, but this may be open to manipulation.
Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark has demonstrated common sense in closing a legal loophole whereby sex offenders and drug traffickers were incorrectly given suspended sentences. He is also showing leadership in seeking a national approach to stop social media jeopardising criminal trials following the murder of Jill Meagher.
His aim in identifying sex offenders must be to prevent violence in the community, while at the same time protecting those most at risk.

Herald Sun (17-10-2012)

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