January 23, 2018
Bruce and Denise Morcombe earn top honours at Australia Day Awards
Dedicated and passionate child safety advocates, Bruce and Denise Morcombe were named the 2018 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards Citizens of the Year at a special ceremony held today (January 23) at The Events Centre, Caloundra.
As a legacy to Daniel and in honour of his memory, Bruce and Denise founded the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to assist educators and parents in the education of children about their personal safety, assist young victims of crime and empower people to make their local communities safer for children.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said this year's Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards had again highlighted the outstanding work of a number of community-focussed Sunshine Coast citizens and organisations.
"The work Bruce and Denise have done for our community, and many other communities across Queensland, has and will continue to help protect our youngest citizens from harm."Their dedication to promoting child safety is honourable and this award is one way we are able to show our appreciation for their work.
"Our nominees in the Australia Day Awards are a very special group of achievers and this is our chance to say thank you."Their stories and efforts are inspirational and highlight how fortunate we are to have so many everyday heroes walking amongst us.
"They fully deserve this public recognition for what they do to make our region a better place."The 2018 Australia Day Award recipients were nominated by the community and selected by a panel of local leaders and experts, including the 2017 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year award recipient, Jak Hardy.
2018 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award winnersBruce and Denise Morcombe Citizens of the Year Award, sponsored by 7 News Sunshine Coast
Bruce has presented on child safety to more than 500 schools across Queensland as a Queensland Child Safety Ambassador, created Day for Daniel, helped to develop the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum in collaboration with the QLD Department of Education, QLD Police Service and Department of Community Services and personally assisted families of missing persons and created the Walk Tall Program in collaboration with ACT for Kids.Olivia Lindsay Young Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by USC
She represented Australia at the London International Youth Science Forum, studied advanced physics at the Junior Physics Olympiad (2015) and was selected for the Young Scholars Program (2016).Olivia volunteers her time to a project called The Olive Stories that aims to empower youth. She is a keen instrumentalist that volunteers her time to the Vivace String Ensemble.
She was named the Public Speaking winner at the Lions Youth of the Year quest.Donald Moffatt Senior Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by Maroochy RSL
He also chaired the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service for 21 years, helping to save more than 42,000 lives.Daniel Morcombe Foundation Community Group or Organisation Award, sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Daily
The Foundation was established as a lasting legacy to Daniel and assists educators and parents in the education of children about their personal safety, assists young victims of crime and empowers all Australians to make their own local communities safer places for children.Judy Pippen Creative Award, sponsored by TAFE Queensland
Under Judy's voluntary management and the efforts of its board, the organisation has moved from a tactical strategy of activating and animating the space, to a more considered strategic approach to medium and long term development.Judy has managed the day-to-day operations of the facility and dedicated time as secretary of the board.
Judy continues to manage Work for the Dole volunteers, who are engaged both operationally and creatively.Through Judy's expert fundraising skills the Old Ambo attracted more than $200,000 in funding for building and business development as well as creative project development and delivery.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Environment and Sustainability Award, sponsored by Living Smart Sunshine Coast
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors aims to involve people in the protection of injured, threatened or endangered wildlife.
The largest project of Wildlife Warriors is the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital that treats, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and displaced native wildlife. The hospital has treated more than 73,200 patients. The hospital team also conduct and support vital research.Sunshine Coast Lightning Sport and Recreation Award, sponsored by Sunshine Coast Sports Federation
Led by CEO, Danielle Smith CA and Head Coach, Noeline Taurua, the club has made a concerted effort to involve the community along the way.The team has done an outstanding job of representing the Sunshine Coast in women's sport, and, in their first year of play, brought home the premiership.
They have encouraged young girls to aim for greatness, as well as making Sunshine Coasters proud of what we can achieve.ENDS
Lightning will work alongside The Daniel Morcombe Foundation, headspace Maroochydore and White Ribbon in the hope of building the organisations' profiles even further on a national platform, assisting in fundraising endeavors and raising awareness around relevant social issues.The Daniel Morcombe Foundation is committed to Keeping Kids Safe. The Foundation was established as a legacy to Daniel Morcombe who was abducted and murdered in December 2003 while waiting to catch a bus on the Sunshine Coast. Daniel's parents, Bruce and Denise, set-up the Foundation in 2005 and it now has two main aims; to educate children on how to stay safe in a physical and online environment and to support young victims of crime.
CEO, Ms Holly Brennan OAM said The Daniel Morcombe Foundation feels honoured to link with Lightning.
"The Sunshine Coast Club's commitment to children, young people and the community aligns with our mission to actively support all communities to be safe places for children to grow, play and thrive," Brennan said.
"We at the Daniel Morcombe Foundation understand and admire that spirit to be the best you can be and make a difference."headspace Maroochydore is the national youth mental health foundation dedicated to improving the wellbeing of young Australians. headspace Maroochydore provides early intervention mental health services for 12 to 25-year-olds.
The organisation covers four core areas; mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.
"We believe that good mentors play such an important role in the lives of young people in our community. A good mentor can lead by example and influence the views, ideals, and actions of a young person," Community and Youth Engagement Officer, Jacinta Hess said.
"headspace Maroochydore are grateful to have been chosen as one of Lightning's Charity Partners for 2018. We are looking forward to collaborating with the team to better the lives of young people on the Sunny Coast."
White Ribbon is part of a global movement to end men's violence against women. Through education, awareness raising, creative campaigns, preventative programs and partnerships, White Ribbon provides the tools for men to stop violence against women in their community and beyond.
"Using strong, elite sporting female role models from Lightning, White Ribbon Sunshine Coast aim to inspire change within both men and women around respect, equality and acceptance," said Brett Phillips.
"Men's violence against women occurs across Australia and across all cultural and ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, educational levels, occupations, socio-economic statuses and sexual orientations.
"Education and awareness-raising of family violence is the main focus for White Ribbon, with the 'Breaking the Silence' program for schools and community groups the priority in 2018.
For more information on White Ribbon, head here: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/
For more information on headspace Maroochydore, head here: https://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/maroochydore/
For more information on The Daniel Morcombe Foundation, head here: http://www.danielmorcombe.com.au
Media inquiries: Dave McLenaghan
Phone: 0437 478 069
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY 27 OCTOBER
'Walk for Daniel' is the Daniel Morcombe Foundation's opening event of our National Day of Action 'Day for Daniel'. It is held annually on the 'Day for Daniel' in Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast. The walk follows the same path that Daniel walked from Palmwoods to arrive at the Nambour Connection Road in Woombye, where he waited for the bus to the Sunshine Plaza before being abducted and murdered.
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation held the first 'Walk for Daniel' in November 2005.
We encourage a Gold Coin donation from everyone attending on the day to help fund our essential work.Over 1million people across Australia will participate in 'Day for Daniel' this year. This includes 2,800 schools and hundreds of businesses public and private events.
This is a National Day of Action focused on 'Keeping Kids Safe'. It is about educating children through child safety and protection initiatives and helping empower our children to 'Recognise, React and Report' if they feel something is not right.Wear Red, Educate and Donate is the theme of "Day for Daniel" as we strive to have schools, kindergartens, businesses and communities across Australia take action and conduct child safety activities in their local communities to help in Keeping Kids Safe.
'Day for Daniel' is the largest child safety awareness day of its type in Australia.Parents, Teachers and carers can visit the Day for Daniel website for resources and information on how to keep kids safe.
Pre Event Media Opportunities are available with Mr Bruce Morcombe and Daniel Morcombe CEO Ms Holly Brennan OAM.
What: WALK FOR DANIELWhen: Friday 27 October
Where: Start: Suncoast Christian College
Cnr Schubert & Kiel Mtn Rds, Woombye
Finish: Approx 8.30am at Briggs Park in Palmwoods Walk Length: 4km
Interviews by arrangement with Tracey McAsey M 0420 300 737
Billy will start his run on Saturday 23rd September at the Lionel Rose Statue in Warragul and finish the run 35 days later in Woombye on the Sunshine Coast at the 13th annual "Walk for Daniel" in time to kick off the Foundation's National Day of Action on Child Safety "Day for Daniel".Bruce and Denise will be there to see him off and cheer him along.
"A run of this magnitude is hard to comprehend. We wish Billy and his support crew the very best of luck. Protecting children is everyone's business. Get behind this bloke and support him as he will make a difference to keeping kids safe." Explained Bruce Morcombe"This is a fantastic effort. We will be thinking of you over the 35 days. So too will be the countless children you are helping who one day will look back from a happier place in their life." Denise added.
Billy said he is doing Ultra Marathon for Daniel because "as a father, child safety is something which I feel very passionate about. I believe all children should be safe and feel safe, and the work the Daniel Morcombe Foundation is doing, is helping to make that possible. I wanted to do this run to be able to do my part and contribute."Billy's key objectives are;
Billy will run through Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The full schedule is attached.
Billy plans to run between 50 to 60km per day. He will run approximately 30kms from 4am to 7am and then again from 4pm to 7pm. He will run 7 to 8 hrs per day, 8 to 10km/hr.
Gary Parsons and his wife Sharon and Billy's mum and dad are crewing for Billy. Gary Parsons is still a record holder for the longest continuous run in the world when he completed his 274 day run around Australia in December 1999.
Currently over 2660 schools across Australia and numerous Businesses, Community Groups and Individuals are registered to participate in Day for Daniel.It is anticipated that over 1 million people across Australia will participate in Day for Daniel 2017 making it the largest child safety day in Australia.
To register for Day for Daniel go to http://www.danielmorcombe.com.au/day-for-daniel.html
A new initiative this year taking place on Day for Daniel is Australia's Biggest Child Safety Lesson.Schools are encouraged to join our live online broadcast and make history by being part of Australia's Biggest Child Safety Lesson. Bruce and Denise Morcombe will share strategies for students to help promote safety.
For more information about Australia's Biggest Child Safety Lesson go to http://www.danielmorcombe.com.au/australias-biggest-lesson.html
Billy is a 5 times Golden Gloves Boxing Champion, four Queensland Titles and an Australian Champion Title. He has represented Australia overseas and fought the World's best.He undertook studies to become a pharmacist and is now Pharmacist in Charge of the Jadin Chemist Group.
27 year old Billy is married to Bec and has a soon to be 2 year old son Ashton. He will actually turn 2 while Billy is on his run. His wife is now pregnant with baby number 2 due in Jan/Feb.Child safety and protection of his own son became his priority. He felt so passionate about it that he wanted to contribute to spread the word about how important child safety is to all Australian's.
Friday 29th September
Billy crosses into New South Wales via Albury
Tuesday 17th October
Billy crosses into QLD via Goondiwindi
Billy's 2nd Wedding Anniversary
Tuesday 24th October
Billy reaches his hometown of Caboolture
The objectives of Day for Daniel are:To raise awareness about child safety and protection and to promote a safer community for children.
'Day for Daniel' is about educating children and adults about 'keeping kids safe' through child safety and protection initiatives. It aims to help empower our children to Recognise, React and Report if they feel something is not right.Wear Red, Educate and Donate is the theme for 'Day for Daniel' as we strive to have schools, kindergartens, businesses and communities across Australia take action and conduct child safety activities in their local communities to help in Keeping Kids Safe.
'Day for Daniel' is the largest child safety awareness day of its type in Australia. In recent years more than 1 million Australians joined with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation in protecting children.A range of resources are available for schools, parents, carers, police officers and educators on the Day for Daniel website DayforDaniel.com.au
Daniel Morcombe Child Safety CurriculumThe Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum has been developed to support schools to deliver key safety messages to students in Prep Year 10.
Within the Curriculum, students learn how to recognise, react and report when they are unsafe or find themselves in situations that can have a significant detrimental effect on their physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing.
The Keeping Kids Safe Resource Kit was developed by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and is aligned with the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum. It is based around the three key messages: Recognise, React and Report.
The Recognise message encourages students to be aware of their surroundings and to recognise body clues.
The React message helps students to consider choices that may keep them safe or help make them safe again as quickly as possible.
The Report message encourages students to report unsafe incidents to an adult.
Developmentally appropriate scenarios are also used to explore and discuss safety situations that children and young people may encounter in the home, at school or in their environment.
The Foundation launched Keeping Kids Safe Resource Kits suitable for children and young people with a mild to moderate special need and for children and young people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage in 2015.
The Foundation launched its Respectful Relationships videos and activities and Cyber Safety for parents and carers video in September 2016.
Keeping Kids Safe Resource Kit and Educational information
List and map of Registered Schools
Other initiatives include;
Being Safety Smart
Being Safety Smart is a free to use online educational game providing safety strategies for children aged from 6 to 8.
The program is designed to increase the awareness of children to situations within the community which might impact upon their personal safety and to empower them with the ability to act appropriately and with confidence.
Help Me' Emergency Mobile Phone App
This App is a great way to not only help keep kids safe, but assist people of all ages, from 7 to 97, covering all kinds of personal emergency situations!
Orbit is an on-line computer game for children aged 8 - 10 that takes a positive and practical approach to identifying and importantly, highlighting the benefits of reporting child sexual abuse. Launched in 2013 it is available to all schools and families across Australia for FREE.
Day for Daniel Registrations
School Registrations are expected to exceed 2,800.
This represents a 15% increase on 2016 registrations across Australia. Every State and Territory has had increases in registrations.
What: The start of Ultra Marathon for Daniel
Where: Lionel Rose Statue, Warragul, Queen Street Park, Queen Street.
When: Saturday 23rd September
Time: 8.45am for 9am start
Who: Bruce and Denise Morcombe
For more information please contact;
Mobile 0420 300 737
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) together with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and Tasmania Police is today launching an educational tour to increase awareness of child safety and missing persons ahead of Day for Daniel in October.
The Tour de Tassie roadshow will visit more than 20 schools and reach thousands of schoolchildren, their parents, carers and teachers over the next two weeks. It aims to educate students about being safe in their communities and encourages adults to have open conversations with children about personal safety.As well as school presentations, there will be three 'ThinkUKnow' super sessions held in Hobart, Devonport and Launceston. 'ThinkUKnow' is a free, evidence-based program that provides cyber safety education in Australia delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Datacom and Microsoft. Presentations cover online grooming, sexting, privacy, inappropriate online behaviours, identity theft and fraud and general online safety.
The super sessions aim to educate parents, carers and teachers on what young people see, say and do online, and how to overcome challenges.AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations Leanne Close said crime prevention was key. The tour harnesses the unique partnerships between law enforcement, industry and non-government organisations.
"Everyone has a role to play in improving child safety and preventing harm in their communities and this is particularly important in the lead up to National Child Protection Week on Sunday," Deputy Commissioner Close said."We are urging parents, carers and teachers to register to go along to the 'ThinkUKnow' super sessions to get up-to-date on their children and teenager's online activity."
Commonwealth Bank State Manager for Tasmania Marco Artini said, "With a large branch network across Tasmania, and over 30 Commonwealth Bank employees from the region trained by the AFP to deliver ThinkUKnow online safety sessions, we are proud to be supporting parents and families in our local community."Bruce Morcombe said The Daniel Morcombe Foundation has been working with the AFP for over a decade.
"In recent years we have shared tours to various mainland regions around Australia promoting child safety," said Mr Morcombe."We are really excited about the Tour de Tassie, as on a personal level, Tasmania is my home away from home. Denise and I have owned property here since 2006."
Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine said, "Technology has never before been as accessible to our children as it is today and I encourage everyone in our community to play their part in keeping children safe from online harm.""Technology can be a wonderful thing but with all its benefits there can be a darker unsafe side for children and it is our job as parents, carers, and law enforcers to make sure they are properly prepared for taking part in the online world."
"Tasmania Police wholeheartedly supports the 'Tour de Tassie' educational initiative and welcome our partner agencies to Tasmania for the official launch today," said Commissioner Hine.Day for Daniel is the largest child safety awareness day of its type in Australia. More than 2000 schools have already registered to take part in the national day of action. For information on events and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, visitdanielmorcombe.com.au.
For information on the ThinkUKnow cyber safety program, visit www.thinkuknow.org.au.For information about missing persons in Australia, visit www.missingpersons.gov.au.
***Editor's note: audio from AFP Deputy Commissioner Close is available via Hightail: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/tn8Oj2bskB
AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333.
CommBank Media: (02) 9118 6919
Daniel Morcombe Foundation: 0420 300 737
Tasmania Police Media: (03) 6173 2424
A publicly accessible sex offender website is part of a responsible and responsive approach to educating parents and carers about keeping kids safe. We need to use all of the resources available. One child becoming a victim of a known perpetrator is a child too many.
Today in Canberra, with Senator Derryn Hinch, Bruce and Denise Morcombe urge Australians to sign in support of 'Daniel's Law' with the relaunch of Public Sex Offender Petition.Background Point of Note:
The offenders who might be listed on the site are the worst of the worst. They will be perpetrators who have raped and murdered children. We owe it to our kids to make a stand and say "we know who you are and we know what you have done".
Holly Brennan, CEO of The Daniel Morcombe Foundation reaffirms that the Foundation is committed to education, protection and empowerment of all children. The Foundation supports the creation of any resource which will assist parents and carers in preventing the risk of harm to their children.
"Sometimes parents are complacent. They wrongly assume that this is an issue for other suburbs and other streets. Parents think that sexual abuse happens to other children in someone else's family. Daniel's Law, sadly, will remind all of us that we need to talk with our children about being safe. Laws alone do not protect our children. Laws with education, support and evidence will help", says Ms Brennan. "We need a comprehensive approach."
The Foundation was established as a lasting legacy to Daniel and now has two main aims; to educate children on how to stay safe in a physical and online environment and to support young victims of crime.
Holly brings with her 25 years experience in child abuse prevention and respectful relationships education including working for Family Planning Queensland for 20 years (1996 to 2015). She held numerous roles including General Manager; Education and Community Services. Holly received her Medal of the Order of Australia in 2012 for service to the community through organisations promoting the welfare and rights of children. She has also received numerous other child safety and protection awards.Bruce and Denise said they are very excited to hand over the reins to such an experienced and knowledgeable child safety expert and are hoping Ms Brennan can continue to grow the Foundation and expand on current programs and services.
Ms Holly Brennan said "I am deeply honoured to be taking on the role of CEO at the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. The Foundation is committed to helping all children and young people be safe from abuse and harm. I really couldn't imagine wanting to work anywhere else."Bruce and Denise will remain on the Daniel Morcombe Foundation Committee and as Queensland Child Safety Ambassadors. They will continue to make appearances and be spokespeople on behalf of the Foundation.
STATEMENT FROM THE MORCOMBE FAMILY
"Our son Daniel was abducted and murdered more than 13 years ago.
This triggered what is believed to be the largest police investigations in Queensland and one of the largest in Australia.
Globally, it is believed to be second only to Madeleine McCann's disappearance in terms of public interest, primarily driven by traditional media and social media.
Our family acknowledges and thank: Police, SES volunteers, forensic experts, Department of Justice, media, businesses and individuals who collectively contributed in finding Daniel's remains and having a guilty man rightfully convicted and now serving a life sentence.
Our request to Queensland State Coroner Terry Ryan for a resumption of the Coronial Inquest has been granted and we thank him for that decision. The purpose of the resumption is to complete a process that was started, then adjourned, 6 years ago.
This is a unique opportunity and a valuable one. To let it pass helps nobody, because rarely, if ever before, has an Inquest commenced with 33 Persons of Interest and a missing child; and this process elevates one person, dismisses 32 and a family are provided the opportunity to lay that loved one to rest.
Now we have the answers, the resumption will focus on investigative methodology. What systems worked and what could have been done better.
As tragic as Daniel's case is, there will be another, and another; they will walk in our shoes.
If we help one family's tragic case reach a conclusion and not have it destined to become a cold case then the resumption has a purpose and is worth it."
NB: The Resumption is scheduled to commence at 9.00am in the Brisbane Magistrates Court (Court 4 Level 1) on 14 Dec 2016.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe think that a public accessible sex offender website is a sensible, responsible and modern approach to educating children and parents about the silent underbelly which casts a dreadful shadow on our society. We cannot continue to sit back and do nothing. Let's use the resources available to make a stand here and now.
Daniel's Law would:
List violent sex offenders on a publically accessible website
Identify these people by name and alias
Show a current photo of them
Provide the general geographical area they live in. (Not the actual street address)
Identify in broad general terms their history of offending
Background Points of Note:
Child victim's of sexual assault will not be identified.
Suggestions of increased vigilantism is not supported by statistics.
Educating parents and children about potential risks is being responsible.
Using the internet and online technology is the modern way we communicate today.
Providing an increased deterrent to future predators makes common sense.
The only negative aspect of Daniel's Law as we see it, is to those on it!
Remember these are the worst of the worst. They are people who have raped and murdered children. We owe it to our kids to make a stand and say we know who you are and we know what you have done.
Your vote is anonymous. Data collected will be used for statistical purposes only.
Article below by Zara Butt
Bruce and Denise Morcombe haven't always been household names. They were once an average hard-working couple enjoying a peaceful life with their sons Dean, Bradley and Daniel in Palmwoods, a small country town on the Sunshine Coast. In December 2003, the boys were enjoying their school holidays. Bradley and Daniel were looking forward to flying to Melbourne to visit their grandparents after their 14th birthday. On Sunday 7th December Daniel waited for a bus to take him to Sunshine Plaza for a haircut and Christmas shopping. He never returned.
The Morcombe's relentlessly pursued answers, working collaboratively with QLD Police and the public. The Daniel Morcombe Foundation was established in 2005 to maintain public attention on Daniel's disappearance, educate children about personal safety and keeping safe, and assisting child victims of crime. Bruce and Denise pushed for an inquest which would revise the evidence the police had received. Their determination was rewarded and in October 2010 a coronial inquest was held. On 13 March 2014 Brett Peter Cowan was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, indecent dealing with a child under the age of 16, and interfering with a corpse. He will be eligible for parole in August 2031.
To say the Morcombe's are fighters would be an understatement. Though they may have won their fight for answers and a successful conviction for Daniel's murder, their battle to protect Australian children is ongoing. They now face the challenge of seeing their bill, Daniel's Law, come to pass in the NT. Based on Megan's Law in the US, successful passing of the bill would make the NT the first Australian jurisdiction to legislate a publicly accessible website featuring a photo of offenders, their location, and offence details. A draft of Daniel's Law was read in the NT parliament on 15th September 2014. It has not been without opposition.
Some experts have voiced concern regarding the identification of victims. Bruce acknowledges this as a legitimate argument and says, "Daniel's Law takes into account the risk of victims being identified. For instance, if the victim's identity will be obvious due to living in a small community then the panel can decide not to publicly register the offender or include only a general location." Daniel's Law states that the panel must decide against publishing offender details if it will cause harm to the victim that outweighs any benefits to other victims or the public. Bruce continues by saying, "Denise and I have met a number of child sexual assault survivors. Almost all of them would have no problem with being identified. They believe that public awareness of the offender's details would be a significant deterrent in reoffending and help prevent would-be offenders from venturing down that path. They want the public to be warned about such people."
Another argument against Daniel's Law is that Megan's Law has failed to provide evidence that a public sex offender registry reduces sex offending. Asked his response to this argument Bruce says, "It's a valid point but the factors which contribute to sex offending must be considered. Megan's Law has been around for 20 years. Our society has changed significantly since then. More public awareness of such crimes against children has resulted in an increase of reporting incidences of sexual abuse. It's not a statistic that one is able to quantify." He acknowledges that most child sexual assault is committed by people who are known to the child. He says, "An example of how Daniel's Law could assist in this situation is by informing single parents of their would-be partner's history." He continues by emphasising that in a modern world the goal posts have moved. He holds grave concerns for children falling prey to online predators. "It would shock most Australian's to learn the number of sex offenders preying upon children online. Doesn't it make sense to use online tools to combat the issue?"
Daniel's Law would allow the public to be aware of offenders like Brett Cowan who have a history of grievous crimes against children. In 1989, Cowan received a two-year sentence for indecent dealing. He had been doing community service at a playground when he enticed a seven-year-old boy into the toilets and molested him. On 28 September 1993, he raped a six-year-old boy and left him for dead in an abandoned car situated outside a caravan park where he and his girlfriend at that time lived. Cowan was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and was granted parole after four-and-a-half years. He relocated to the Sunshine Coast with his Aunt and Uncle, who were Pastors at the Woombye Christian Outreach Centre, as it was then known. He married in 1999, had a son, and settled in Beerwah. He would go on to father another 3 children to 2 more women. On 7 December 2003, Daniel was seen waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass. The bus he was supposed to catch had broken down just down the road. Daniel hailed the replacement bus but it continued due to being behind schedule and it being an unofficial stop. Cowan stood a distance behind Daniel and by the time the second bus came a few minutes later, both he and Daniel had gone.
Asked whether a public sex offender registry would have changed the way he and Denise raised their boys Bruce says, "Yes, it would have been a very useful tool had it have been available. Palmwoods was, and still is a small, safe community. It wasn't until after Daniel's disappearance that we became aware of an evil underbelly that exists everywhere. As responsible parents we would have educated our children about potential personal safety issues. Identifying serious sex offenders on a website to children makes it real. We don't wish to scare anyone, especially children, but it will help them appreciate that they need to observe those basic safety messages. For instance, travelling with a friend if possible or telling someone where you are going and what time you will be home. And as always Recognise, React and Report anything suspicious."
The passing of Daniel's Law has the potential to change would-be outcomes for children who may be preyed upon by such deprived, opportunistic individuals. Being a community issue, if you wish to have your say then please visit the Daniel Morcombe Foundation website where an online survey has been created. All responses will be forwarded to the NT parliament before the second reading of Daniel's Law in the coming months.
The Day for Daniel, a National
Day of Action raising
awareness of Child Safety,
Protection & Prevention