The real risk to children is closer to home.
The real risk to children is closer to home. Choreograph

Why sex-offender register could do more harm than good

OPINION

THEY say the devil you know is better than the devil you don't, but when it comes to the subject of child abuse that couldn't be further from the truth.

Major child-safety reforms announced by LNP Leader Deb Frecklington, if her party was to be elected, include a public child-sex offender register that would allow parents to discover the identity of reportable offenders living in their streets and neighbouring suburbs.

Harsh penalties would apply to those who used the register to harass offenders.

In the almost three years I have spent reporting from various courts, I have never, ever come across a case of child abuse that was committed against a child by a stranger.

The real threat to children is their fathers, step-fathers, relatives, family friends and men in their parents' community groups who take a little bit too much interest in them for comfort.

I can barely think of a week when I haven't either reported on, or heard in court of a child being offended against by someone they know.

We are contacted constantly by people wanting to know why we rarely name child-sex offenders.

The reason is because they so often share a last name with the victim, who we are legally unable to identify for their protection.

Yes it would be comforting as a parent to know if a reportable child-sex offender lives down the street, but it's more likely your child is going to fall prey to someone you know.

The register would go a long way to ease some parents' minds, but it shouldn't lull them into a false sense of security.