Concern over child porn arrests



PARENTS leaving children at Tweed child care centres have been reassured they are safe in the wake of the Australia-wide internet child porn arrests.

The arrests, which so far have included one child care centre owner, teachers and police, were yesterday a talking point among many parents dropping children off at the Cooloon Children's Centre at Tweed Heads according to centre director and President of Early Childhood Australia Judy Radich.

But Ms Radich said parents could be reassured that not only did child care workers have to pass strict checks, but were not allowed to be alone with children.

Ms Radich said everyone working with children had to undergo strict police checks that they had no convictions for sex offences but admitted that meant the workers were "only as good as their last check".

However children's safety was further enhanced by policies adopted by many child care centres which ensured no staff member was allowed to be left alone with a child.

"We have to have two staff members on at any one time," she said.

"Even if a parent arrives early when I'm the only person here, I won't let the parent leave the child with me alone," she said.

"That is to protect ourselves as well as the children."

According to Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty more than 500 Australians could be implicated in child internet porn as the worldwide investigation continues.

Mr Keelty said police across the country had already executed more than 400 search warrants and more were to be acted on through yesterday.

More than 200 people had now been charged with over 2000 offences, he said.

"Paedophilia is now becoming a worrying feature of law enforcement activity because it is so pervasive," he said.

"This operation has provided us information in the order of in excess of 500 Australians accessing the material."



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