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Mum outraged listed sex offenders still in contact with kids
A Geelong mother who unwittingly had two sons with a sex creep says she is horrified hundreds of children have been put
at risk because of failings in child protection.
Victoria Police yesterday revealed 376 registered sex offenders have had contact with 667 children since 2005 because police
failed to alert the Department of Human Services.
The figures come just months after the Geelong Advertiser revealed that Geelong mum Tamara Viccars and her eight-year-old
daughter had been living with a convicted sex offender because authorities had failed to alert them to his sordid past.
Ms Viccars only learned last year of
Andre Trewin's 2002 conviction for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl while she slept.
Ms Viccars said her children struggled with the notion their father was a pedophile and saw how much damage it caused them last week.
"I took them to the park and there were other kids playing footy with their dads and my boys burst into tears because they will never have that," she said.
"They are left without a father and know they are children of a pedophile."
Ms Viccars said she was shocked almost 700 children had fallen through the cracks.
"I'm horrified and it's absolutely disgusting. The scars on these kids will last a lifetime," she said.
Victoria Police said the sex offenders who had made contact with children included a parent or a parent's new partner or
spouse, housemate or close friend.
Three offences involved the same family but no charges were laid because the offender had died.
In most of the 376 cases, sex offenders told police they were in contact with children but police didn't notify child protection
authorities despite their mandatory obligation under state law.
Assistant Commissioner Jeff Pope said police were taking the matter "extremely seriously" and all cases had been referred to the
Department of Human Services.
"Unfortunately, what it means in this case is that on these occasions we haven't properly notified DHS and properly discharged our
obligations to mandatorily report that children are at risk," Mr Pope said.
"It won't happen again, and it's a very unfortunate oversight, and we're very sorry that it's occurred."
But the State Opposition said the failure was a fundamental failure of law.
The Opposition's spokeswoman for community services Mary Wooldridge said Mr Pope's explanation was not good enough.
"What we have here is the most basic responsibility of government and the police to make sure that children who may be in harm's
way have the protection they need.
"It's a fundamental failure of the law."
Ms Wooldridge repeated the coalition's pledge to hold a full judicial inquiry into the state's child protection system if elected on November 27.
Police Minister Bob Cameron said there had been a failure of police procedures but the force had taken immediate steps to fix the problem.
The Department of Human Services had also set-up a taskforce to investigate the issue.
Geelong Advertiser (27-8-2010)
Listing Australian Convicted Paedophiles/ Sex Offenders/ Child Killers..
FREE Public Service..
No one told me de facto was kid sex fiend
A Geelong mother is furious authorities did not reveal her de facto husband and father of two of her children was a serial sex offender.
Andre Trewin lived with single mum Tamara Viccars and her eight-year-old daughter and they only learned of his criminal past seven years later.
Ms Viccars discovered Trewin indecently assaulted children in Queensland in 2002 after he was charged with a similar offence last year, for which he was jailed last week.
"The system failed me and my children," Ms Viccars said. "I had a registered sex offender living with me and nobody told me.
"Without the knowledge, you are flying blind and you only find out when something happens to your children or someone else's.
"It's then well and truly too late.
"As a parent you have two roles: It's to love them unconditionally and to protect them and the protecting bit I failed.
"It's the most devastating feeling to know you have failed your children."
Ms Viccars said Trewin had told her he was jailed in Queensland for an assault but he made no mention of it involving sex or children.
She said there was no way she would have started a relationship with a sex fiend.
"My children are my world and had I had that knowledge I wouldn't have had them and said to him 'get out'. I'm not willing to put my kids at risk," Ms Viccars said.
"I thought I knew him better than anybody. I trusted him."
A Department of Human Services spokeswoman said police were required to notify DHS when they become aware a sex offender was living with children.
"Whilst DHS cannot comment on the specifics of this case, it can confirm that once it received a notification it responded appropriately," the spokes-woman said.
Ms Viccars said she split with her partner in 2006 and DHS became involved when he was charged with fresh offences last year.
She recalled her two boys were with their father when DHS called to alert her that Trewin had been charged with a sexual offence against a girl.
She said she raced over and collected her kids.
"I couldn't believe it," she said.
"(I thought) This can't be happening and what follows is your whole world falls apart and there is nothing you can do about it.
Ms Viccars said she could not fault Trewin as a father to the two boys and there were no allegations of anything untoward against them.
Trewin was jailed last week for a maximum of 21 months, with a non-parole period of 10 months, after indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl while she slept.
He was at a friend's house on June 25 last year and walked into his victim's bedroom where he touched her vagina and stroked her arm.
The girl's father found Trewin asleep on her bottom bunk, despite a bed being made for him in the loungeroom.
Ms Viccars said it was heartbreaking to tell her two boys that their dad was in jail.
"They know what Daddy did and know Daddy's gone to jail," she said.
"Those are all things that could've been avoided. The sad reality is I wasn't given the choice.
"I feel like I didn't do enough to protect my children but I didn't have any knowledge.
"I thought 'what have I done to my children'."
For the Queensland offences, he was jailed for three years but granted early release after one year.
Trewin was last week placed on the sex offenders register for life
Geelong Advertiser (13-4-2010)
Serial sex offender jailed for touching girl, 9, in her own bed
A repeat sex offender was jailed for 21 months yesterday after indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl while she slept.
Andre Trewin, 32, of Whittington, had been staying at a friend's home when the attack happened on June 25 last year.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Angela Avery told the Geelong Magistrates' Court that Trewin had a make-shift
bed in the lounge but, in the early morning, he walked into the girl's room and touched her vagina and stroked her arm.
The girl's father found Trewin asleep in the bottom bunk in his daughter's bedroom that morning.
Trewin, a father-of-two, was jailed for three years in 2002 for a similar offence on several children over a period of time.
He was yesterday placed on the sex offender's register for life.
Barrister David Gibson said Trewin was remorseful and sent his friend a text message apologising for his Behaviour.
He said Trewin drank a bottle of scotch on the night and had no recollection of what occurred and did not understand what triggered the indecent act.
Mr Gibson said Trewin's home was vandalised and he received death threats after he was charged.
"All this is an understandable response that raises high emotion in the community," Mr Gibson said.
The court was told Trewin had been part of a Jehovah's Witnesses fellowship and led an isolated life that was devoted to the church until he broke free aged 16.
Sen-Constable Avery said Trewin learned nothing from his first experience in jail over a very similar offence.
"This is a very serious offence. A nine-year-old has been preyed upon and violated in her own bed," she said.
Magistrate Ron Saines said he took into account when sentencing that Trewin pleaded guilty and had suffered from depression and anxiety.
"You were a guest in the house where the offence took place and offending Behaviour is an example of a breach of trust," Mr Saines said.
"No matter how revolting this offence may be in the eyes of the community I accept it was a single act of indecency.
"It was more opportunistic Behaviour than premeditated."
Trewin pleaded guilty to performing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16 and failing to comply with sex offenders regulations.
He must serve a minimum of 10 months before being eligible for parole.
Geelong Advertiser (9-4-2010)
My children's father is a paedophile
Tamara Viccars has blamed Victoria Police and DHS for failing to protect her kids.
Ms Viccars today demanded Mr Overland fronted the media to explain how a serial sex offender was able to move in with her and her daughter, then 8, and start a family with her.
She said her life had been a living nightmare since she realised her former partner, Andre Trewin, was a serial sex offender.
"Andre was interviewed by the police in 2007 and told them he was having unsupervised time with kids, why didn't they do anything?" she said.
"At this point in time you have to wonder if police did nothing about or if they did and DHS are at fault.
"But this is not something Mr Overland can sit back and make no comment about. He has to show the Australian public and the 700 affected families that he actually cares," she said.
Mr Overland has refused to front the press in person to answer direct questions about the criticisms and instead sent out a statement blaming the former government for lack of funding.
Speaking in response to the Tamara Viccars case, Minister for Police Peter Ryan said authorities should have known the man was having regular contact with children.
“That gentleman’s presence with the children should have been alerted to DHS and that’s where the system has fallen down,” he said.
Mr Ryan said the rights of children were paramount and he would be telling the department what needed to be done.
He has backed Mr Overland's claims of lack of funding and promised the necessary resources.
He admitted the reporting system needed fixing but refused to point the finger of blame at Mr Overland or Corrections Victoria Commissioner Bob Hastings.
"The buck stops with us," he said. "It is a matter for me as Police Minister to deal with this issue."
Tamara Simpson yesterday said the State Government had continually failed to protect her and her children.
'How many children did I put at risk by not knowing?'
Ms Simpson said her life had been a living nightmare since she realised her former partner, Andre Trewin, was a serial sex offender.
"Every day is a nightmare. The fact that authorities knew he was a sex offender but allowed him to move in with a single mother with an eight-year-old daughter, and didn't tell me anything, is disgusting," she said yesterday.
"My children have to suffer this for the rest of their lives.
"They are now labelled because their father is a paedophile. That's hard to deal with."
Trewin moved in with Ms Simpson and her daughter in 2003, just a year after he was jailed for sexual offences against children.
The pair had two children together before separating in 2006.
"He never told me of his history," Ms Simpson said.
"I knew he had been in prison but he always said it was just for assault.
"A lot of my daughter's friends would come over to the house and never came back, and now I have to wonder why.
"How many children did I put at risk by not knowing what the Government should have told me?"
It wasn't until 2009, after Trewin was arrested for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl while she slept, that Ms Simpson became aware he was a repeat sex offender.
He was jailed for 21 months but is still allowed to speak to his children regularly and is eligible for parole on Monday.
"That scares me. I know he wants to come and see the kids," Ms Simpson said.
"I want my kids to have nothing to do with him.
"The paedophiles have more rights than the rest of us. And I'm worried because I believe he will reoffend. I really do."
Ms Simpson said she was shocked to learn that another 700 children had been exposed to sex offenders.
"It's horrific. I have no faith in a government that keeps letting me down," she said.
She had not been able to find anyone to help her take legal action.
"There are too many laws to get around. The Government is protected," she said.
"But I can never forget this happened. These are my babies, and I will fight until I have no breath left."
Herald Sun (10-2-2010)
90 listed sex offenders living in Geelong
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