GYMPIE'S most senior police officer has spoken out about the horror of violence against children, in particular the murder of a toddler he witnessed as a young police officer fresh from the academy.
As Child Protection Week draws to a close tomorrow, Detective Acting Superintendent Bruce McNab has urged all Gympie region residents to never ignore the suspected abuse or neglect of a child.
"Gympie is a beautiful, safe place to raise our children," he said. "Be part of keeping it that way."
The devastating recollection of what he saw back in 1990 is compulsion enough for members of the community to notify authorities if they suspect a child is in danger.
"As a 21-year-old police officer, fresh out of the academy, I witnessed for the first time the horror and violence which can be perpetrated against our children," Det A/Supt McNab said.
"A colleague and I drove into a quiet suburban street in Brisbane in 1990, to see a young child deceased in the street.
"Three generations wiped out in an instance by an angry father armed with a gun.
"We got out of the car and stared.
"This was before the war on terror which you can see every evening on the evening news.
"This was very close to where I had grown up.
"This small toddler, along with his family had died.
"I would like to say I was never confronted by that image again, but over the last 25 years in the police, conducting, and for the last 16 years leading investigations, I have seen these tragedies again, and again."
Child Protection Week is designed to remind us all that protecting children is everyone's business.
"As a community we need to be aware of children at risk, and be prepared to voice our concern," Det A/Supt McNab said.
"You aren't being nosy; you are caring when you raise concerns over a child, and seek to make sure they are safe."
Det A/Supt McNab said one of the ways police sought to ensure the safety of children was to closely monitor the movements of anybody convicted of a sexual crime against children.
"Through national registration and legislation, specialist detectives in our Gympie community closely monitor these offenders and track their movements; the places they live in, the cars they drive, their social networks, all to protect our children," Det A/Supt McNab said.
"Last year alone Queensland detectives rescued 85 children.
"By comparing the faces of the victims of horrific child exploitation videos and pictures, these detectives identified 85 children who were being abused at that very moment. Through worldwide networks these officers reached out and took these children from the grasp of their tormentors.
"You can be part of this movement to protect our children. If you see a child or family in crisis, make a call."