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Pedophiles Unchecked

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 insufficient.
"Pedophiles are traditionally very good at not getting caught and therefore are not identified in police checks," he said.
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 worldwide.
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 O'Connor said.
"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)
Keith Moor

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