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"This is being done at the expense of children, this is saying to the offender you come into the program and we'll keep mum about
your sexual abuse and the family stays together."

- Opposition Justice Spokeswoman Sue Walker, regarding the SafeCare program


Calls To Shut Down Sex Offender Counselling Program

A taxpayer funded agency which provides confidential treatment and counselling for child sex offenders in Western Australia is at the centre of a political storm with calls today for its closure.
The Opposition's Justice Spokeswoman, Sue Walker, says the agency SAFECARE is effectively undermining the legal system.
SAFECARE guarantees confidentiality if the offender agrees to leave the family home in the case of intra- familial abuse, and agrees to undergo two years of counselling and therapy.
The Minister for Community Development, Sheila McHale, says such programs serve a purpose, and there's always the risk of driving the problem underground it such services are banned.
But Ms Walker says the minister has missed the point: "This is being done at the expense of children, this is saying to the offender you come into the program and we'll keep mum about your sexual abuse and the family stays together."
SAFECARE has been operating for more than a decade, and has been funded by both Labor and Liberal governments. '
The agency says it has a high rehabilitation success rate.
SAFECARE's Clinical Director, Cristabelle Chamarette, told ABC Radio the agency's primary focus is protecting children from abuse: "We've seen it work for 15 years. It's a very effective program, its been evaluated as state of the art in terms of sex offender treatment programs, its comparable to the in- prison treatment programs but its actually got a much better track record."

ABC Online (13-5-2004)
Presenter- Liam Bartlett

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