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Parents Cop Camera Ban- Abuse Fears Hit School Sports

PARENTS have been banned from taking photos at Victorian primary school Sports events in an effort to Stop pedophiles preying on children.
The hardline ruling has been Introduced to prevent predators, posng as spectators, taking photos of children and posting them on the internet.
The Victorian Primary Schools Sports Association, which co-ordinates events for more than 1800 schools, introduced the ban.
Only an official photographer employed by the association after a police background check can take photos of competing children.
The association's executive officer, Ken Wing Jan, said: "We make it quite clear that there is to be no videoing or photographing of the kids, except by the official photographer, who has passed all the requirements to satisfy the educacation department.
Rare exceptions may be made for award presentations when officials are able to determine the identity of the parent.
"Occasionally we get a parent who wants to take a photo (of their child) on the dais and we allow that because we can check their identity," Mr Wing Jan said.
The association, which works with private and public schools, stages about 40 competitions every year in 18 sports, such as athletics, swimming, football, netball and hockey.
Mr Wing Jan said the ban would be difficult to enforce, especially with people with mobile phones with cameras, but ruled out a blanket ban on mobiles.
"It Is hard to police people taking photos because they can do it so surreptitiously," he said.
"The obvious ones we stop,we try to police it as best we can. We have got huge numbers of spectators. Some of our events have got (crowds of) 3000 to 4000.
"It is very, very difficult to control what they do ... with digital cameras and phones, I dont know how you stop it."
Parents Victoria president Gail McHardy said the rule was a necessary sign of the times and fair, as long as parents were given access to the official photos.
"Deviant types of people have spoilt it for everyone trying to watch their children," Ms McHardy said. "The utmost importance is the protection of our children."
Life-saving bodies have taken action to restrict photography at beach events. The policy has been enforced this summer in Melbourne, with unregistered parents told not to take photos.
The Secondary Schools Sporting Association recently reviewed its policy on photos but decided against a hardline stance.

Sunday Herald Sun (20-2-2005)
Kelvin Healy

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