A child protection group has urged the ACT to introduce severe measures cracking down on convicted paedophiles, calling for indefinite detention, public access to images of nearby sex offenders, and mandatory minimum sentencing.
But the proposal could spark heated debate over breaches of human rights, the encouragement of vigilantism, and the prevention of Canberra's judges from sentencing on the merits of each individual case.
Child sexual assault campaigner Bravehearts is behind the call to significantly toughen the ACT's approach to child sex offenders, making a submission to the current inquiry into sentencing practices in the territory.
It says that, in some cases, ''preventive detention'' is needed to protect the community.
The group argues that convicted paedophiles should not be released if they are still deemed by a court to be a risk of reoffending, regardless of whether they have served their time.
''Clearly there are some offenders who pose such a danger to the community that they must be kept in prison indefinitely,'' the organisation wrote.
''Bravehearts argue that this group would comprise all recidivists and others whose offences were so heinous as to indicate a lifelong high risk.''
Among a range of proposals, Bravehearts has also advocated the creation of a searchable register of serious and repeat sex offenders living in Canberra.
Such a system would allow members of the public to view images of nearby paedophiles, but it would not give them access to the address.
Similar measures are used in the United States under Megan's Law, but have attracted criticism for their ineffectiveness and tendency to encourage vigilante attacks.
An American sex offender, William Elliott, was murdered. He had been placed on the register because he had had sex with his girlfriend, who was almost 16, when he was aged 19.
Detailed reviews of the laws, cited by the Australian Institute of Criminology, have also found that evidence for their effectiveness was weak, they did not stop reoffending, and could create false senses of both fear and security.
Bravehearts acknowledged the problems with such laws, and conceded they were the ''least best option''.
But it said limited information should be provided, including on missing sex offenders, on the searchable image database.
It said parents should be given the ability to get information about individuals who have regular, unsupervised contact with their child.
The group has also called on the ACT to adopt standard non-parole periods for child sex offences that attract a maximum of 10 years or more.
Bravehearts says this would ensure consistency in sentencing and that the offender is adequately punished for the offence.
Such approaches to sentencing have been strongly criticised by lawyers and ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell in relation to other crimes, because they take away the judge's ability to use discretion in individual cases.
Speaking about mandatory minimum sentences following NSW's introduction of one-punch laws earlier this year, Mr Corbell said: ''[Mandatory minimum sentences] can undermine judicial independence, removing from the judge or magistrate the capacity to properly impose a sentence that takes into account all of the relevant factors, and can lead to unjust, indiscriminate, and potentially arbitrary outcomes for individuals.''
The sentencing inquiry has received 17 submissions and the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety is expected to deliver a report late this year.