14 Oct 2016

Child sex offender register launched

6:25 pm on 14 October 2016

The country's first child sex offender register, launched today, will help to monitor offenders and supervise their rehabilitation, police say.

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Photo: AFP

The register, which will cost $140 million over 10 years, requires people convicted of a child sex offence to tell police where they are staying, who with, and their contact details.

It will be administered by police, and shared among government agencies.

It would not be made public.

Convicted abusers will remain listed on it for a time based on the seriousness of their offence, with three tiers of eight years, 15 years or for the rest of their life.

The register has been criticised, both for being too intrusive, and not going far enough.

But Police Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard, told Nine to Noon it was an evidence-based approach.

"They have to live somewhere and we have to have some confidentiality for these people," he said.

"I understand community concern, but the reality is that most of these people, in well-supported environments, don't go on to [re-]offend, and certainly the research says they don't offend against strangers."

But Justice reform advocates said the child sex offender register was a red herring that created only an illusion of safety.

JustSpeak director Katie Bruce said the majority of people convicted of child sex offenders were never reconvicted for the same offence.

"There's little evidence that these registers work, because those that commit sexual offences against children - 90 percent of them are not convicted and the vast majority are perpetrated by a male family member known to the child. So actually, if we think this is going to create safety in our community, then what we really need to look at is prevention."

Ms Bruce said the country needed to use opportunities to stop the harm happening in the first place.

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