A VICTORIA Police expert in child sex offences claims
pedophiles have infiltrated many organisations set up to
protect young people.
Detective Sen-Sgt Chris O'Connor wants every group with
access to children to be subjected to regular stringent
checks to weed out offenders.
This would include examining teachers, religious
organisations, lifesavers, scout leaders, sports
clubs, counsellors, welfare workers and charity groups.
Sen-Sgt O'Connor -- one of Australia's leading child
sexual abuse experts -- said pedophiles were operating
almost unchecked within such groups.
While most already subjected staff, potential staff and
volunteers to criminal record checks, he argued this was
"Pedophiles are traditionally very good at not getting
caught and therefore are not identified in police checks,"
Sen-Sgt O'Connor, until recently the head of the Victoria
Police sexual crimes squad, yesterday called for every
organisation with access to children to be subjected to
the same accreditation process as in the aged care sector.
In an open letter to New South Wales Police Commissioner
Ken Moroney, Sen-Sgt O'Connor backed Mr Moroney's call for
a national summit to tackle child abuse.
The letter, written in his capacity as executive director
of child protection organisation kIDs.ap, claims:
ALMOST all pedophiles charged are of Anglo-Saxon background,
indicating other cultures don't report child sexual assaults.
MOST pedophiles display behavioural indicators long before
they are caught, yet very little research has been done into
recognising these signs.
THE internet is potentially the greatest threat to children's
protection in recent history.
A MULTI-MILLION dollar child pornography industry is operating
CHILD sexual assault is often a preventable crime yet resources
are largely aimed at detection after the event.
Sen-Sgt O'Connor said the proposed accreditation process -- apart
from helping identify pedophiles -- would also ensure all
organisations offering children advice in relation to abuse
were providing correct information.
Evidence suggested pedophiles were attracted to working within
organisations which gave them easy access to children, Sen-Sgt
"The dark irony is that many involve themselves in professional
and community services in the protection and development of
children," he said.
"And they would say to you, 'I love children. It is just that
occasionally I have this urge to be intimate with them'. Is
there any behaviour that could be more ignoble?"
Herald Sun (14-12-2004)