Parents of school children in Jefferson Parish can now be notified every time a registered sex offender is in their area as part of a new initiative to prevent sex abuse.
The Sheriff's Office is joining forces with the TASK team. That stands for "teaching awareness to school kids."
Sheriff Newell Normand says there are about 1,022 registered sex offenders in Jefferson Parish. He says it's important to always know your neighbor. Parents of children in Jefferson Parish should expect their kids to receive a brochure about the TASK program. They're asking parents to talk to their children about sexual abuse and how to prevent it.
The statistics can be alarming. They say one in four girls is sexually abused before the age of 18 and one in seven boys. Only one of every three children report the incident. They're asking parents to sign up for email notifications. The kids will even receive a prize from Adventure Quest Laser Tag. The program will send pictures of registered sex offenders, their location and the type of offense they've committed.
"One thing we know for sure is that there are sex offenders out there trying to gain advantage, sizing up our children to try to take advantage of that. That is what we want to prevent," says Normand.
"Notification works and the reason why these offenders aren't offending like they did a couple of years ago is because we have all of this out there and it's available to the public," says Rose Richardson, the executive director of Offender Watch Initiative.
They're hoping to launch the program in St. Tammany and St. Bernard soon. They say the program will launch in Tangipahoa this fall.