It is so ironic. So many of the parents and people that I meet are afraid of the bogeyman - the (at least, personally) unknown bogeyman. At the moment it is Dennis Ferguson - everyone is concerned about where he is and what he is doing. I admit, what he did was appalling and horrific. However, I am not worried about him re-offending - the truth is that he is so notorious now, that no one in their right mind would allow their children near him. Not only that, but if he ever was to be sighted in the company of children he would be instantly recognised and reported.
My problem is that people seem to forget that the "successful" ones are the ones that never get caught. The fact is that you are more at risk of having your child molested by someone you know, then some stranger at the park, or Dennis Ferguson. Seriously.
You have to be so, so careful with whom you trust your children with, and even then recognise that even those people can be capable of evil.
It is a far bigger problem then just Dennis Ferguson (and let me just stress again - I am not downplaying his terrible actions at all). There are so many other horrifying cases that you never hear of, that don't make the press. And the accused in those cases get to walk around in the community after they are released - nameless and faceless - and to me at least, a much bigger threat.
A paedophile does not always look as stereotypical as Mr Ferguson does - they can, and do reintegrate into society. After all, they have often had years of training and practice at lying and covering their tracks. They are much, much smarter then we often give them credit for. But above all, they have often had years of living as 'normal' individuals - as sons, husbands, partners and fathers - and all too often, they are too good at it.
Which is why I always say to parents - be alert. Learn from my story and from others. And above all, WATCH YOUR KIDS. Don't just assume because you know them, that they are good people.
It isn't the scary bogeyman we should be afraid of - in fact, being afraid doesn't help anyone. But please, be alert, and listen to your kids. Talk to them - communicate, instead of teaching them to fear a select few.
And talk to your local members of parliament - we don't have a public registry of child sex offenders like many other countries (including the US) have. We should, so that light can get into that closet and scare the bogeymen away. We need light - we need facts, not our heads in the sand. This problem isn't going away.