Child sex offenders lurk undetected in almost every street of every suburb according to a passionate child safety advocate.
Child sex offenders lurk undetected in almost every street of every suburb according to a passionate child safety advocate.

How child predators lurk undetected in our streets

CHILD sex offenders lurk undetected in almost every street of every suburb according to a passionate child safety advocate.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston believes parents and carers need to learn how to identify potential abusers, while also blasting the Blue Card system for not doing enough to protect children.

The comments come in the wake of a former child care worker allegedly abusing kids at a local centre, charged with over 100 offences, across a 25 year period, as police dismantle the paedophile network.

The man, 39, was charged with more than 100 child sex abuse offences on children aged between zero and 16.

Police allege he raped and sexually assaulted 11 children over the 25 year period, which he recorded and shared to social media platforms.

Police will allege some offending occurred against children at a child care centre the man previously worked at.

It is understood the man held a blue card.

"We can't blame the Blue Cards … the only way a Blue Card works is if the (alleged) offender is known to the authorities," Ms Johnston said.

"(Generally speaking) they are very shrewd and very clever at avoiding detection.

"(A Blue Card) cannot help us with those we don't know about."

Ms Johnston said 80 per cent of child sex offenders will never disclose their true past to employers, and staff needed to learn the telltale signs of a potential paedophile.

"It gives them eyes they didn't have before and also give them information about other things like potential hiding spots.

"There is so much we can do to avoid these things … but we must know that police aren't aware of most offenders."

Townsville Police were working closely with the child care centre in the investigation, but would not disclose the name of the centre to protect the victims.

Townsville Child Protection and Investigation Unit officer-in-charge Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said police had no plans to inform any other parents from the centre whose children were not abused.

Sen-Sgt Miles said police would alert parents if they found evidence their child was assaulted.

Ms Johnston hoped no other children were quietly suffering as they were the only ones who knew the true identity of their attackers.

"We need to change the whole culture approach to child abuse and reach out to children and ask," she said.

Police will further allege the man sought out "vulnerable" women, often in the drug scene, to sexually abuse their children.

It is alleged the man also used a woman's dog in some of the sexual acts.

The man remains in prison and will face court again later this month.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.   

Originally published as How child predators lurk undetected in our streets


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