How the register works Media attention on the court case of Daniel Morcombe's killer is believed to have led to a massive surge in visits to West Australia's online sex offender register of more than per cent. Police Minister Liza Harvey told Fairfax Media the site experienced big spikes in the number of visitors after high profile coverage of sex offender cases.
Supplied A recent increase has seen the interest in the site climb by more than per cent. The nation's first public sex offender register which was launched in October of provides the public with photos, names and suburbs of paedophiles according to the area they live.
Advertisement The Community Protection website also allows parents to ask police about the criminal history of people who have unsupervised contact with their children.
Figures showed that in the week before the Daniel Morcombe court case ended the website recorded visits by people. The following week, when Brett Peter Cowan was found guilty of murdering the young boy, indecently dealing with a child under the age of 16 and improperly dealing with a corpse, visits rose to 4, visits by 4, people. Mrs Harvey said that during that week there was also a lot of media attention more locally in Perth on the topic.
On March 19, just days after being released from prison, the man referred to only as TJD, who is one of Western Australia's worst sex offenders was arrested for allegedly breaching a supervision order condition.
Mrs Harvey said it was an ongoing trend to see figures for the site jump in reaction to what was in the news. Curtin University Cultural Studies expert Professor Jon Stratton told Fairfax Media it made sense that seeing people were getting "more details about these horrific crimes" it made them more anxious about this sort of thing happening.
Professor Stratton said in the past there had not been as much detailed reporting into these matters and so widely available. Up to March 19 the register had , hits. Mrs Harvey said she was not aware of any reports of vigilante action since the website begun.
In order to access information on the Community Protection website, users have to hand over their own details, including their licence details.
If someone searches in their area, their name will also appear watermarked over the image of the offender to deter people from republishing the images. Those found guilty of harassing a person identified on the website face a jail term of up to 10 years.
How the online register works: The website is divided into three tiers for different types of offenders. Tier one is for sex offenders who have gone underground and do not comply with their reporting obligations. Information includes a photograph, date of birth, physical description, name and known aliases.
Tier two is for repeat or highly dangerous sex offenders and people can make a request to be given the photograph of an offender living in their postcode and adjoining postcodes. Tier three allows guardians to make a request regarding a specific person who has regular unsupervised contact with their child.
While the area a sex offender is listed, exact addresses are not given.