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Aus launches first online child sex offender register

October 15, 2012 15:32 IST

Australia on Monday became the world's first nation to make public a sex offender's register, supplying photographs and names of nation's paedophiles.

The register with the names and faces of about 50 paedophiles was published on the website of the Western government amid wild outcry that the step could lead to attacks by vigilante groups.

The Community Protection website provides information on the state's most dangerous repeat sex offenders. The launch is being closely watched by other states, but there are concerns it will prompt vigilantism and cases of mistaken identity, ABC News reported.

"It is leading Australia in providing parents with what would have been confidential information," Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Darryl Noye was quoted as saying by   ABC News.

"Previously they would not have been aware potentially that someone is a reportable offender if that person has access to their children," Noye added.

The website will provide information on some of the state's most dangerous and repeat child sex offenders, including their photos, names and the suburbs in which they live, although it will not give out specific addresses.

Through the website, parents can also ask police about the criminal history of people who have unsupervised contact with their children.

The photos of offenders will be watermarked with the user's name, so if they are ever posted on Facebook or misused, police will know where they have come from.

But Senior Sergeant Noye says vigilantism is never acceptable. "It then puts the person who takes the matter into their own hands, it puts them at risk as well," he said.

Anyone found guilty of harassing an offender identified on the website faces a jail term of up to 10 years.

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