Name and Shame

The debate over naming sex offenders

As many of you are aware, I am 100% behind the Derryn Hinch campaign to get a sex offender register in Australia. Living in Texas, where we have an online sex offender registry, which feeds into apps so I can see offenders around me at any time, I know that it can work. There’s no mass hysteria. There’s no public lynchings or floggings. No random acts of violence around offenders. There’s simply an awareness that there are predators out there, and a tool that lets you see where they are. It lets you plan your kids route to school, or know which houses to avoid while selling Girl Scout cookies. We’re not quite as radical as the Sheriff in Florida who puts up signs out the front of offenders houses, but we know these people exist.  Convicts-SignsThere’s something we should be learning from the high profile sex offenders that have been convicted over the last couple of years. The Daily Mail had an excellent article today about why Sex Offenders MUST be named. When I named Robert, it turned out other girls had been to police before, but he just kept managing to get it covered up. I went super public, and not only did other girls who had been to the police before get to re-open their cases, but many more girls went to the police. It wasn’t just the ones who managed to get charges against him. There were others. Many others. It’s just that some of us had enough proof to get charges laid. It doesn’t diminish what he did to the other girls, it’s just there wasn’t enough to secure a conviction. By going public though, not only did his victims come forward, but so did witnesses. People sent in photos, people gave first hand accounts of the things they had witnessed. Instead of the police having to track down potential witnesses, they had been calling them, setting up appointments. They were inundated, but it meant we got a guilty verdict.

Rolf Harris was under investigation back in 2012. It was hinted in the media who it was, but he had gotten a suppression order preventing the media from publicly naming him. Only a couple of girls at that point had come forward. When he was finally publicly named, many more women and witnesses came forward. It made the case stronger. There was another bunch of women in his case that had also been molested by him, but who didn’t get a day in court. But because he was publicly named, he will go to jail for all of them.

These celebrities hold a great deal of power. People are afraid to speak up against them. Especially when it’s just one person against a giant. It’s almost like a David and the Goliath battle. When only one person speaks up, people pounce on the victim, claiming they must be trying to tarnish a good man’s reputation, or they must be after fame or money. However, when a whole bunch of people start going to police, and it’s known that there are several complainants, even if nobody knows who they are, people have to start believing where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I can understand nobody coming out about Savile when he was alive. He was a very protected species. All of these people are. But once a couple people spoke, many more did, and now it looks like he may have been the worst sex offender ever seen in Britain. I’d like to see more of these offenders brought to justice, not just hear about them after they die. The Operation Yewtree investigation stemming from it though is amazing.

There’s a second point here. We have now seen several very high profile people charged as sex offenders. Robert Hughes, Rolf Harris, Max Clifford, Jerry Sandusky, Malcolm Fox, etc. If we can publicly name these high profile people as sex offenders, and have everyone know what they did, why can’t we name and shame everyday citizens who are harming people? People keep citing that by naming the offender, we’ll be letting people know who the victims are. Which just isn’t true. For six weeks, there was cameras out the front of the Downing Center court everyday. There was five victims, and many other witnesses. Except for me, nobody knows who any of the other victims are. If with all that public exposure the victims are still protected, I don’t buy that naming an offender will name the victim. The other thing we’ve learned is that these people don’t have just one victim. There are usually many, many victims. You can’t tell who their victims are when you name them. It could be anyone.

People in Australia seem to not want to understand that sex offenders are everyone. It’s not just one or two people. Right now, pedophiles are so protected, that people just don’t get they are everywhere. One in five kids in Australia will be molested before the age of 18. That’s a HUGE number of victims. Who do people think are committing all these offenses? A sex offender registry will let people see just how many offenders are out there. It might scare people at first to know just how many there are. After a minute, they’ll get over it. Instead of burying your head in the sand about it, it’s better to have an awareness, and then you don’t have to be fearful of it. You can pop on there and check out to see if your neighbour offering to mind your kids has a questionable past. You can see if the house you’re thinking of buying is in a neighbourhood with a bunch of offenders. You can check out your kids karate coach. Going on a date? See if the person is a rapist…

Knowledge is power. Pretending that sex offenders don’t exist doesn’t help anyone. It certainly doesn’t protect anyone. Next time you see a sex offender mentioned on the news, pay attention. Listen to see just how many times that person has been caught before, but simply moved to a  new area and started offending again. If there was a register, people would know not to let that person near their kids.

Sign the petition. Get involved with organizations like Bravehearts. Educate yourselves, and your kids. Let’s make Australia a safer place to raise children.

Watch Derryn Hinch’s episode on Sunday Night on Seven to see more about the petition.


Act now for Aussie kids


For those who don’t receive the emails from Bravehearts, here’s the one that went out today. I’m excited to be an Ambassador for Bravehearts and taking part in this years campaign for White Balloon Day.

Dear Sarah Monahan 
We are in the middle of one of the most significant historical moments in child protection this country has ever seen.
Survivors of childhood sexual assault are finally breaking the silence and telling their stories – many for the first time.
The silence, secrecy and shame that are the offender’s best friend are now being challenged like never before. The victims who for too long have been invisible, without recognition, void of an effective response are finally being seen and heard.
Get involved with one or all of the events listed in this newsletter and on behalf of the tens of thousands of children and their families that your support reaches – thank you. 
Hetty Johnston
Bravehearts Founder and CEO
#whoRUprotecting is a national campaign encouraging Australians to act for the protection of the children in their lives.  It might be your son, daughter, niece or nephew, grandchildren, students, a friend’s child or like Hetty – all Aussie kids.
Get involved: 
  • Host an event – hold a ‘white’ morning tea, organise a ‘wear white’ day at your child’s school or at your workplace or encourage your community to take part in a ‘white walk’ while raising funds for Aussie kids.
  • Social media selfie – snap a #whoRUprotecting selfie: the selfie requires you to answer the question ‘who are you protecting’ and display the answer in a photograph.
  • Social media – positively promote Bravehearts and White Balloon Day on your social media accounts using the hashtags #whoRUprotecing and #whiteballoonday.
There are many more ways you can get involved, just visit  
Blind man contests Coast corporates in Bravehearts Time Trial
Damien Williams will fly blind, relying on his wingman to navigate the undulating 43km course when he competes in the annual Bravehearts Time Trial on a specially designed tandem bike in November.
The father-of-two is one of the first competitors to sign up for the annual event and will race against ORICA-GreenEDGE representatives and a chain of Gold Coast corporates – including Von Bibra Auto Village and Onyx Property Group.
The Bravehearts Time Trial will take place in the picturesque Samford Valley, just west of Brisbane and will feature many of the elements of a professional cycling event including ramp start, motorcycle cameras and timing gates.  
To join Damien in this exciting adventure, visit
Marathon Melina set to tackle grueling Bravehearts 777
Melina Blanco is accustomed to triumphing over adversity and will muster all of that determination when she tackles the gruelling Bravehearts 777 – 7 Marathons across 7 states in 7 days.
The 20-year-old counselling student will take on the 300km run for the second time to raise funds for Australian children affected by sexual assault.
Herself a survivor of this devastating crime which affects one in five Australian children before the age of 18, Melina will run marathons in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Northern New South Wales and the Gold Coast and aims to raise $7,770, bringing her total amount raised for Bravehearts to almost $20,000.  To join Melina, visit
Ready, Set, Mow! Claude’s
on track to raise $700,000
Australia’s favourite mowerman, Claude Harvey is again pushing his customised cutter for child safety– this time from Caboolture to Bundaberg, hoping to bring his total fundraising efforts for Bravehearts to $700,000.
The 68-year-old grandfather will visit 30 towns throughout Queensland during his mowerthon which commenced in Caboolture on 27 May.
During his 53 day journey he plans to visit such towns as Kilcoy, Kingaroy, Biloela, Gladstone and Gin Gin before concluding his trip on July 18 in Bundaberg and aims to raise $50,000 for Australian children affected by sexual assault.
Ditto! NSW schools get safety savvy with Bravehearts education
A personal safety initiative developed by Bravehearts was rolled out to every NSW Government primary school to keep kids safe in a range of situations from bullying to sexual assault.
Set to educate around 195,000 NSW students from kindergarten to Year 2, the acclaimedDitto in a Box education pack teaches personal safety skills and underpins children’s instinctive understandings and feelings in a way that is non-confronting, safe and highly effective. 
The NSW State Government allocated $268,051 to support the initiative and the implementation of child protection education within the NSW Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum. 
It follows an evaluation commissioned by the NSW Department of Education and Communities in November 2013 of Bravehearts acclaimed personal safety program, Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure (DKSA) show. The Government piloted DKSA in 21 NSW primary schools and commissioned Urbis to undertake an evaluation of the pilot.
Students at Laguna St Public School were the first to receive Bravehearts education resource

Help Bravehearts Raise $59,000

Cosmetics for a Cause

The countdown is on to the final day of our fundraising initiative with Cosmetics for a Cause (Dollar Cosmetic Club) with all products to go under the virtual hammer in a mega online clearance sale. That means big brand cosmetics for just $1 at auction as part of the finale of the campaign. Then from 3pm-6pm, more than 30 products including top range items from Estee Lauder, Maybeline, Revlon, Covergirl and L’Oreal will go online in an extravagant hamper sale not be missed.
Thanks to Dollar Cosmetic Club for your support and everyone who has got behind the campaign and now has a stellar collection of brand name cosmetics. For those who haven’t – It’s not too late.
All money raised will go towards educating, empowering and protecting Aussie kids.

Bravehearts Training Workshops

Bravehearts Inc.
Bravehearts launches new training workshops

Bravehearts has launched three new workshops to meet every level of demand in helping the community to understand and respond to Child Sexual Assault. The five tiers of workshops now available are listed below and will cover everyone from general members of the community to Child Care Workers, Primary Teachers, Support Workers and Psychologists.
  1. Supporting Hands: Introduction to Child Sexual Assault (2 hours)
  2. Responding to Disclosures (3 hours)
  3. Teachers and Educators: Responding to Child Sexual Assault (6 hours)
  4. Support Workers and Foster Carers: Responding to Child Sexual Assault (7 hours)
  5. Practitioner Workshop: Working with Child Sexual Assault (2 days)
Bravehearts now offer great incentives to organisations to implement specialist training into their staff induction and continuing staff professional development programs. Our workshops are delivered nationally.
Click here to download the latest workshop brochure or contact for more information.

Bravehearts calls for Royal Commission into Sexual Assault

Bravehearts renews calls for
Royal Commission of Inquiry into child sexual assault

Bravehearts has received the full support of the National Child Protection Alliance in its reignited calls for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to hold a National Royal Commission into the sexual assault of Australian children.

A Royal Commission should examine all clandestine, cultural, illegal and systemic activities, policies, laws and practices which compound the actual and potential sexual assault of Australian children within all environments including churches, institutions, courts of law, government and non-government organisations.

Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston, said sweeping powers are needed to comprehensively investigate all allegations of child sexual assault and the wilful cover-up by people and practices that betray the duty of all adults to place the best interests and protection of children first.

“Our children deserve protection; they deserve decisive and immediate action from those with the power to protect them,” she said.

“Our politicians must step up to the plate. The evidence around the level of danger our children face is indisputable. The impetus to do this properly is with a Royal Commission that closely examines the issue, so that we can stop child sexual assault in our society. We are not content to continue to simply mop up the carnage, we need this to happen and it needs to happen now.”

Ms Johnston said an earlier call for a National Royal Commission in 2003 in the wake of the Peter Hollingworth Anglican Church debate almost succeeded. The Labor Party, then in Opposition and led by Simon Crean and Jenny Macklin supported the calls, as did The Greens. Since that time the threats against our children have expanded and the need for an Inquiry crucial.

It follows allegations this week by a senior New South Wales police officer who claimed the Catholic Church not only impeded inquiries into child sex offences but competent police officers were removed from investigations.

“Child sexual assault and the issues surrounding it are endemic, they are national and they demand a national response,” said Ms Johnston.

“The Catholic Church has a great deal to answer for but it would be wrong to suggest that it is the only institution with serious matters to explain and equally, it would be wrong to believe that these issues stop at the NSW border.

“There is no question a Federal Royal Commission is needed immediately. Child sexual assault is the largest crisis facing our children, not just in the Catholic Church, and not just in NSW or Victoria.”

Research shows that 1 in 5 Australian children will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. They are boys and girls, black and white, rich and poor and they live in every nook and cranny of our nation. This heinous attack is happening in various degrees of complicity in churches, in institutions and in all communities.

The outcomes for children and families in terms of mental health are catastrophic while the economic outcomes can be measured in the billions every year.

In October, Bravehearts launched its breakthrough 3 Piers to Prevention strategy – Educate, Empower, Protect – solid foundations to making Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child by 2020.

It will cost an average of $8 million per year for Bravehearts to deliver on its strategy to initially prevent 28,000 children (pa) from being sexually assaulted by 2020. Australian governments will need to support these initiatives for the targets to be achieved.

These actions will save an estimated $5.2 billion in costs associated with the ramifications of child sexual assault on survivors, their families and the community.


Bravehearts’ Child Safety Initiative

Bravehearts’ Child Safety Initiative to Reach all Aussie Kids

Bravehearts’ breakthrough safety initiative Ditto in a Box will reach and educate all Australian kids about the dangers of sexual assault.
The Ditto in a Box education pack teaches personal safety skills and underpins children’s instinctive understandings and feelings around their personal safety in a way that is non-confronting, safe and highly effective.

Stephens College at Coomera became the first school in Australia to implement the education pack into its program with the assistance of Rob Molhoek, Assistant Minister for Child Safety and Member for Southport; and Detective Superintendent Cameron Harsley, Child Safety Director at Queensland Police Service. Also present were Bert van Manen MP, Federal Member for Forde and The Member for Albert, Mark Boothman MP, students, teachers – and Ditto.
Developed to complement the Personal and Social Capability Criteria of the Australian National Curriculum Version 3.0, it is focused on providing children with protective factors to build resiliency and empower them when faced with unsafe situations.
The age appropriate personal safety program was created to meet soaring demand from schools and early learning centres around the country for the popular Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure show, which will soon reach its 250,000th child.
Since its first Australian school show in Brisbane six years ago, the Ditto live show has expanded and now delivers shows across nine regional areas in four States (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania).
Bravehearts faced a challenge of how to address the growing waiting list of schools and childcare centres eager to get access to the show. It sparked the idea for Ditto in a Box – an education pack that contains five teaching modules on safety as well as warning signs, scenario cards, music and storybooks.
Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston, said as part of the vision to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child, it was critical to provide a personal safety program which educates, empowers and protects our most vulnerable.
“There are thousands of kids Australia-wide in remote locations who cannot get access to Bravehearts’ live safety program featuring the lovable Ditto,” she said.
“It’s not fair that thousands of kids miss out because we don’t have the resources to reach them all. Hopefully that’s about to change and we expect a big take-up of Ditto in a Box, which will deliver our safety message to schools everywhere.
“This benefits kids that have seen the live show too as it aims to support and reinforce the messages they have learned there.”

ICE arrests convicted sex offenders

ICE teams throughout Texas arrest 50 convicted sex offenders and other criminal aliens

This is awesome! Every day at work I read reports of aliens caught on the Border who have some kind of criminal conviction, usually pretty terrible ones. The USBP Agents and the other law enforcement Agents do their best, but so many just keep on slipping through. The US Marshals do round ups, and sometimes we just get them by chance, while they’re doing something else stupid, like Drinking and Driving. It seems like ICE has had their hands tied for a while, but after they came out against the Administration a month or so ago, complaining they were being prevented from doing their jobs, they’ve been going into overtime, making up for lost time. It’s super busy right now. Since Obama announced the Dream Act, it’s a non stop flow of people trying to make it over….

So here’s this press release from ICE. Of course, since they were targeting sex offenders, you know I’m a super happy camper. Kinda awesome it came out the same day as Bravehearts put out a statement on their views on convicted sex offenders having passports.

Here’s a snippet of the ICE press release:

Following a five-day Texas-wide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation, 50 convicted alien sex offenders and other criminal aliens were arrested by officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).  ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) also assisted with this operation.

The goal of this operation, dubbed “SOAR” (Sex Offender Alien Removal), was to identify, locate and arrest aliens who have convictions for sex crimes, especially sex crimes against children.  This is the first statewide operation that specifically targeted this criminal element. This operation was coordinated with ERO’s 16 Fugitive Operations Teams throughout Texas, and Texas DPS.  Four Fugitive Operations Teams operated from Dallas and north Texas.

Of the 24 men arrested in north Texas, 15 had prior convictions for sex crimes such as:  indecency with a child, sexual conduct; unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child; sex offense against a child, fondling; and sexual battery of a minor. Seven of those arrested in north Texas had been previously removed from the country and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Bravehearts Position Statement on Child Sex Offenders and International Travel:

Recent media reports have highlighted the issue of hundreds of convicted child sex offenders travelling overseas.  In just the first two months of 2012, Australian Federal Police (AFP) statistics reported that 195 of the 143,000 offenders registered on the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR) travelled internationally, with many offenders travelling to known, vulnerable countries.Australian Federal Police statistics show that over a quarter of these offenders travel to Denpasar, with Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Nadi, Hong Kong and Manilla among the ‘top ten’ destinations.

While the Australian Federal Police Child Protection Operations Intelligence Unit assists in monitoring individuals who are recorded on the Australian National Child Offender Register travelling overseas, tracking offenders in many countries remains exceedingly difficult.

The Australian Federal Police work closely with local authorities, alerting them when a registered offender is travelling to their country and deploying liaison officers to many international jurisdictions. However, in some cases local authorities do not have the resources, support or experience to appropriately respond.

Bravehearts position on child sex offenders and international travel is that:

On release, and until such time as the offender is no longer under supervision orders, all child sex offenders must forfeit their passport.

Where the offender is no longer under a supervision order, as long as they remain a registered person on the Australian National Child Offender Register, the offender must inform police within at least 7 days advance if they intend to travel outside of Australia.

So ICE wants sex offenders to go home, and Bravehearts wants them to stay home. If only I could get the two to team up together…

Oh, and I just noticed my face on the Bravehearts page! Cool. Hope everyone had a great White Balloon Day. I hope when the case is over, I can come back and attend some events at the next one.


White Balloon Day – Sept 7th

It’s All White To Say No.

Hey everyone, don’t forget that September 7th, 2012 is White Balloon Day. Go to the Bravehearts White Balloon Day website to find out how to get involved.

There’s events happening in every State, so there’s bound to be something near you. If not, why not go ahead and plan an event? You can buy a white balloon, or dress in white for the day. Encourage your friends to get involved. Raise some money, raise some awareness.


Bravehearts Applauds LNP Child Protection Policies

Just wanted to share an email I got from Bravehearts this week.
BRAVEHEARTS have applauded LNP leader Campbell Newman for his new election promises regarding child protection across Queensland.
The new commitments include $4m to trial a Fostering Families program to help at-risk families and children; $2.5 million for child counselling, telephone support and school education about sexual assault and a two-strike policy for people who commit sexual offences against a child.
Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston commended LNP leader Campbell Newman for his strong focus on the safety of children throughout Queensland families.
“We have been an advocate for the ‘two strikes and they’re out’ mandatory sentencing policy for repeat child sex offenders for years and commend the LNP for their new election promises,” said Ms Johnston.
“It is our position that child sex offences need to be considered with the upmost gravity. The reality is that child sex offending is a compulsive, addictive behaviour that impacts on victims throughout their lives, sometimes with devastating consequences.
“Bravehearts has advocated for a specific, targeted two strike legislation as a response to habitual and persistent child sex offenders and we applaud the LNP for their focus on this issue and ensuring this is a priority in the top five election policy promises.”
“On their first conviction offenders should receive support and programs aimed at reducing their likelihood of reoffending. However, if they reoffend, we believe there should be a mandatory life sentence for any second contact child sexual offence,” said Ms Johnston.
“Such legislative reform should include consideration of non-contact offences, which can be as harmful and as serious”.
In addition, Bravehearts applauds the LNP’s commitment to increase funding to both counselling services for children and young people and education programs.
“The proposed additional funding to counselling services and school-based prevention programs is welcomed. Services are currently stretched to their limit trying to respond to the need for specialist, therapeutic support for victims. Our waiting list for counselling has been unacceptably high for too long”, Mrs Johnston said.
“The need to support schools in providing effective personal safety education programs is vital in our battle to combat the sexual assault of our children. To have any impact on this crime that effects one in five of our children, we have to get serious about investing in prevention programs.

“We applaud the LNP for moving forward to protect our children to the best of our ability.” Mrs Johnston said.


it’s all White to Say NO!

White Balloon Day is almost here

White Balloon Day is September 7th. What do you have planned? Check out the White Balloon Day website to see events have already been planned that you can attend, or register your own event.

a dollar sign is the cheesiest, but Bravehearts could really use your cash. It’s the biggest fundraising event of the year. All of your donations are tax deductible.

Right now there’s a lot of events planned in QLD, but NSW could really use some superstars to organize some events. Let’s make this year HUGE!

I really wish I could be there this year, unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be able to attend any events while my investigation is still underway.