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Family Networks Targeting Children: Police

NSW police have uncovered what they believe to be "family networks" of pedophiles operating around the State.
A confidential report reveals "a significant number" of child sex offenders in NSW share the same surname.
Police have specifically identified three groups with the same last name.
They are trying to work out how many of them are related, and how.
The report says an examination of the NSW pedophile register in September showed "a significant number of offenders ... could be grouped into subsets of three with the same last name, presenting the first indications of trends associated with family networks of child sex offenders."
A child-abuse summit in Sydney in October heard that 35 per cent of sexual assaults on children were made by a parent.
The startling revelation about family networks of pedophiles is also believed to have been presented to the summit. Until now, it has remained secret.
The latest report says it has been established that several generations of the same family can be involved in drug dealing, car theft or identity fraud. Statistics about pedophiles are less reliable, however.
The report, compiled by the NSW Police Child Protection Registry, also gives a chilling insight into the strategies pedophiles employ.
"Offenders have established companies to publish children's books," the report says. Others have set up companies to provide tutoring services to schoolchildren.
And jail is no barrier to offenders trying to set up future contact with children.
"(There are) strong indications that the highest-risk offenders actively network within (jail)," the report says.
"Strategies have included passing information on the children of other inmates to allow (pedophiles being released) to target vulnerable families in the community."
In some cases, charity workers have been "manipulated" so that offenders can share accommodation.
Other pedophiles make a point of sharing accommodation with someone working with children.
The report discusses the future of the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR).
ANCOR is being set up to provide a central index of pedophiles. It is separate from the NSW register, which was established in 2001 and is the oldest and most reliable database in Australia.
The report says that if ANCOR was properly developed, it could prevent offences against children.
"The first phase of the project is ending, leaving little in the way of nationally consistent procedures and policy," it says.
It also warns that some pedophiles who actively avoid reporting their address "are acknowledged as the greatest risk to children".
But so far, there is no national approach to targeting such criminals.

The Sunday Telegraph (18-12-2005)
Neil Mercer

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