Australian Recommendations to be Studied

  • Jack Elder

Police Minister Jack Elder welcomed the presentation in Sydney yesterday of the Wood Royal Commission into paedophilia, and said the recommendations will be studied to see if they could improve children's' safety in New Zealand.

"The Wood recommendations are similar to plans by the Labour Government in Britain to give police the authority to inform schools and community groups when known paedophiles are in the area."

Mr Elder has already asked for a report on how the British changes could be applicable to New Zealand.

Justice James Wood said New South Wales Police should be given the power 'to give a warning to relevant government departments, agencies and community groups relating to the presence of a person convicted or seriously suspected of child sexual assault offences."

He said this should be done in consultation with a Privacy Committee where 'reasonable grounds exist for the fear that such person may place a child or children in the immediate serious risk of sexual abuse'.

"I believe parents in this country would also want the maximum protection for their children, and while there may be complaints from civil libertarians, the rights of children not to be abused must be paramount," Mr Elder said.

Justice Wood also said consideration should be given to the compulsory registration with police of all convicted paedophiles, with the legal requirement they notify any change of address.

"I will be asking New Zealand Police to consider the Wood findings in conjunction with their present study of the law relating to community notification of paedophiles," Mr Elder said.