Aboriginal Children VI

Yesterday marked one month since the Prime Minister declared there was “a national emergency in relation to the abuse of children in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory,” in response to the first sentence of the first recommendation of the Little Children are Sacred report.

At the time, it appeared the federal government was ignoring the second sentence of that recommendation (not to mention most of the following 96 recommendations), which was that “governments commit to genuine consultation with Aboriginal people in designing initiatives for Aboriginal communities“. One month after the Prime Minister’s dramatic announcement, the headlines have died down somewhat, but the need has not. For me, a key test is whether subsequent actions have attempted to address the second part of that first recommendation.

The federal Minister’s statement from a couple of days ago says that one month on in the ‘national emergency’, “15 extra police were already on the ground in six communities and five communities have health assessment teams in place.” Meanwhile, more than 500 state and federal police have been working on trying to dig any possible evidence to use against a Muslim migrant who gave a SIM card to his cousin.

Following are links to a couple of pieces on other blogs which are very much worth a read. But before you read those, I recommend having a look at this video of an interview with Reverend Djiniyini Gondarra, from Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island.

The link to that came from this piece by Jane Simpson, which contains many other good links to useful information.

Also worth a read is this post on Club Troppo by Ken Parish, who has long-term experience in the Northern Territory.

Sending in medical teams to conduct comprehensive physical examinations of all indigenous children is a useful if modest step. By definition, however, it will have no long-term health effects in the absence of enhanced ongoing programs staffed by additional permanent doctors, nurses and health workers, which the Commonwealth is not offering to fund and the NT government cannot to any significant extent.

Moreover, these health examinations are unlikely in themselves to detect more than a handful of additional cases of sexual abuse.Similarly, squads of interstate police sent in for 6 months or so may have a short term positive effect on law and order in some especially dysfunctional remote communities, but will also have no long term effects in the absence of a permanent expansion in police numbers, which again the Commonwealth isn’t offering to fund and the NT government cannot to a significant extent.

The recall of Parliament for a “special session to deal with the legislation that will be needed to give effect to the announcements” has not happened. This is a good thing, as any legislation in such circumstances would almost certainly not have been given adequate scrutiny – which is all the more important given the importance and sensitivity of the issues involved.

I have received an enormous amount of correspondence on this issue since the government’s announcement, including some fascinating detail of what has been happening on the ground in the Northern Territory. I hope to visit there for a few days before the Senate resumes to get a better idea of what has been happening there and the views of those who have already been working and living with these issues for a long time without much support.

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100 Comments

  1. JT that’s not an easy question. There are many contributing factors, the most obvious is what other children is it compared to. All others? Came into contact with – does that mean removed & in care? or notified & left in a sub st&ard care situation. Without that sort of data it’s just not possible to comment.

    In my first year as a CWA I initiated action that led to 5 children becoming State Wards, in my last year 0. In the early years I could walk into a situation, make an assessment, take some evidence, remove children, front the court the next day & then work it through all in good faith black or white didn’t make any difference (to me at least). In the end, & its probably worse today, Officers were paralysed to act, court orders were needed prior to serious intervention, except in the most appalling physical risk situations, child advocates are at every corner, the degree of children at risk of drug dependent / Psychiatrically disturbed kids had multiplied.

    So some had abused their “power” in the past the system is now over regulated. Kids r left in situations that wouldn’t have been tolerated, (but fixable that’s the key) in bygone years. It’s easier to leave them, hence I feel more deaths, not in the system, but known to the system, but not probably attended to.

    For my 8 years as a welfare officer 4 kids I knew of directly were killed. I was directly involved with 1 & still to this day feel some guilt as to did we do the wrong thing leaving him at that time – despite being cleared by the coroner.

    There’s much better information on this today, health are more clued in than before, But I don’t believe the system we have today is effective, it may be more transparent but at a cost. Sometimes everyone seems to have more rights than the child. But I’m probably looking back through the misty eyes of yore!!

    Anyway a self report staff survey, primarily premised I would bet on getting more staff is not quite the research report I would use

  2. Ken,

    The C.M. article suggests the comparison is with all children.

    The article is written sensationally in that it implies welfare agencies are responsible for the deaths. I am not surprised by these figures because these kids obviously had problems in the first place to trigger intervention.

    But the key point as I see it is that the interventions don’t work, a fact proven by more than this report. Removing a child from place A to place B is not the solution, nor is increasing staff within the same program.

    The NT police/military thing is just bizzare – a super intervention with no apparent plan at all.

    repairing families is the answer. Its easy to say that, much more difficult to figure out how. But if we don’t figure out how and redirect resources and staff to that then nothing will change.

  3. John – I don’t think you can generalise completely in some cases it is just not possible not to intervene, but as a matter of principle I do agree that keeping children in their home and or familair situations is preefreable.

    That is in fact what happended in my time as the yeasr passed. Staying wiht even a dysfucntional family is probalbe betetr than ebing launched intot a system, although some kids thrived but not many. My experince is limited to inner sydney, refern, waterloo the Cross etc

    The key is support in the home and I dont think that is happening now as much as it used to.

    I agree the NT thing is hard to see as particualy useful, althouhg you probably wont agree, but I think it is a disaster having thsoe settlemtns out there in the first place.

  4. ken:

    Ditto to posts #41 and #47.

    I too am tired of being treated like a moron by psychologically disturbed people.

    But I will concede that Marilyn is correct about rape cases. While John Howard was conducting an expensive media campaign against rape, Queensland courts continued letting rapists off in droves.

    The social worker friend I’ve mentioned a couple of times told me a lot of the foster homes are no good either.

    She said she’s found kids starving in some of those situations, and that a lot of the foster parents are only in it for the money, and that many are poor welfare recipients.

    My friend is currently working as a Parent Aide – no doubt helping children stay with their parents, where possible.

    Over the years, I’ve known 3 men whose mothers deserted their families to pursue greener personal pastures. When I’ve seen the effects it has had on their sons’ lives and relationships, I think those women should be given a jail term.

    Assimilation in the case of Aboriginal children and their families has a lot of plusses going for it.

    There are currently excellent equal employment opportunities in nursing, and driving buses for Queensland Transport. The nursing home I volunteer in has some excellent nurses from the Torres Strait.

  5. I think the whole emotional, anecdotal tone of this thread is unhelpful and is no basis to discuss public policy. Unfortunately it reflects the report that led to the NT intervention which is also based on anecdotal evidence rather than firm statistical data.
    Surely the collation of such evidence should be the first priority for determining public policy rather than relying on our own personal (and therefore limited) experience.

  6. The value of anecdotal evidence ought not to be underestimated.

    It sometimes has a higher value than statistics – which can be fudged, or fail to reveal important peripheral and underlying factors.

    I am always interested to read of other people’s opinions and experiences.

  7. So am I, but not if that is your sole basis for an intervention that will impact the lives of many people. Are anecdotes enough evidence for you to claim that a community is abusing its children? Because it is not for me. It is a serious charge and should be based on more than hearsay.

    The whole problem with the entire disgraceful intervention in the NT is how little proof people need before they jump to the conclusions they have. The NT report’s authors say that there is no conclusive statistical evidence of the extent of child abuse, but still claimed there was an epidemic of it.

    Does the hurt that would cause indigenous parents if those claims were not true not bother you at all?

  8. Interesting set of observations PS. Perhasp you could identify for us which part of the 40,000 year aborginal history you find acceptable adn which you dont? Seeing all their history is based on oral interpreation and handed down verbally. Or perhasp there is some more recnet policy, stolen generation?, mabo?, where verbal evidence is OK.

    Maybe you could point to the statistics you’d like to see to substantiate the many (and as even Senator Bartlett has Pointed out) and varied sources of evidnce of dysfunction and abuse in these communities.

    Perhasp youd like to see confirmed child abuse notifications? hmm given there no welfare offices or officers, or anyone to report abuse to in the bulk of these communities thats going to be interesting. Perhasp hospital admissions would satisfy you objective mind? hmm no hospitals. Ah yes of course polcie records – unfortunately police dont record anything. Perhaps the feral abacus can help out – although I think he’s still recovering from the textual lashing he recvied on another thread.

    I do agree with you in relation ot the intervention, perhasp disgraceful is too unforgiving, as no one will probably suffer as a result – timed to appear to be doing something in an election year is more like it.

  9. Piping Shrike, most management decisions are – of necessity – made on the basis of incomplete information. Situations often arise that are of such urgency that they demand action before the complete picture can be discerned.

    Then there are the pragmatics of managing upwards. In the public service, that may mean cobbling an agenda onto a vaguely-related high-profile issue in order to gain political support for actions that would otherwise never happen.

    I’m sure that upper level managers have been waiting for years for their Minister to show some interest in the problems in these communities. Unfortunately it has taken the paedophilia bogeyman (& the election) to gain the Minister’s attention.

    While I think many of us are unhappy with the Federal govt’s rhetoric and modus operandi on this issue, there is a broad consensus that some indigenous communities are deeply troubled, and that there are child welfare issues that need to be addressed. As I have stated previously, delaying action for yet another a year or two while studies are conducted to confirm this would be counter-productive.

    I agree with you that people are being needlessly smeared. But I think that the best response is to put pressure on the Federal govt to cease its broad-brush portrayals, while at the same time acknowledging that problems do exist. It doesn’t really matter whether or not the overall rates of abuse are higher or lower than in the broader community; the fact is that there are some serious instances of abuse, and these communities haven’t received the level of support that they need to deal with those cases.

  10. Sorry but let’s just get this clear how child abuse is normally dealt with. If there is a suspicion of such a case, say raised by a teacher, then investigations are carried out to prove conclusively one way or other whether it is true. If that evidence has been established, then action is taken to protect the child. The reason why firm evidence is needed is that such action will over-ride the rights of the parents and before that is done they deserve, as a citizen with rights, for firm evidence to be established.

    But of course here we are talking about indigenous parents, so they don’t have such rights. Firm evidence is not necessary because according to you, feral abacus, it would simply take too long. Anecdotes and hearsay are apparently enough for indigenous communities. Any idea why the rest of the world thinks Australia’s treatment of its indigenous population (including this latest episode) is a disgrace?

  11. The Piping Shrike:

    New rules were brought in for teachers and parent volunteers in schools relating to the abuse (not just sexual abuse) of children in 1999.

    I attended the session for parent volunteers. I might add only 3 people turned up – a social worker friend, a teacher who was also a parent, and me.

    I had a second go at reporting the fact that a male paedophile was working in the school tuckshop. Still nothing changed.

    When I spoke with my son’s very experienced teacher about the reporting of abuse, she said kids came to school telling all sorts of lies in order to get attention.

    We can’t get good men into teaching because of the many false accusations being made, in addition to low pay.

    Most teachers (male or female) have long been afraid of hugging a distressed child, or even putting a hand on his/her shoulder.

    This is not to say that schools don’t have paedophiles among their teachers. The local primary school has had at least 3 in the last 20 years, and those are just the ones I’ve known about.

    Someone once letterboxed the entire neighbourhood about another creep in the high school, but still nothing was done. My sons had already come home and told me themselves what he was doing years before.

    I don’t mean to be insulting, but you need to get a reality check on what really goes on.

    The statistics are small because:

    kids are scared; kids are sometimes liars; and a lot of adults have yellow stripes running up their backs when it comes to doing anything about it.

  12. PS – can you point out where I said you don’t need any statistical evidence to establish a public policy position. What i said was hwo would you propose to collect it, and what form shouild it take, by implication you then need systems, resources and services to collect it.

    Of course your scenario in 59 is accurate in nice little middel class urban australia, with forms, and systems, and socila wokers and evidnce gathering techniques, corts, foster families, periods of remand, health workers and the like, god dear shrieker some of us have actually done it.

    How would yopu propose the same be established in remote australia? None of this should be assumed to imply approval of what is happening in remote austrlai, you and I simply dont know, and can only comment from afar

  13. Neither of you have said anything to support the rights of indigenous parents over their children – which is kind of a sensitive issue for historical reasons. Coral your distorted account of the ‘reality’ of dealing with this issue in Australian schools just highlights the dangers of relying on one person’s experience for public policy.

  14. Coral,

    How did yo know there was a paedophile in the tuckshop? How did you know it was “a fact”?

    Did you have evidence of this fact and present it to the authorities?

    Or did you just whinge to the authorities because you heard that there was a paedophile, from someone you respected so it must be a fact?

    Did they ignore you because they condone paedophilia, or because there was no evidence?

    Did the workshop (with the 3 attendees) cover issues such as ways to gather evidence and protocols to protect innocent people from false allegation?

    Or did you just chat and share your stories about paedophiles?

    Do you think the federal government should take over the management of tuckshops to protect children?

  15. Piping Shrike, you insist that the Federal Govt’s intervention is invalid due to an absence of compelling evidence.

    Consider a hypothetical scenario. Imagine that health professionals had conducted a comprehensive census of remote communities, where they had found undeniable evidence of high levels of child abuse. In such a hypothetical case, would you consider Federal Govt intervention – similar to that currently being implemented – to be justified?

  16. If you are asking if there is conclusive evidence of any child abuse should an authority intervene, of course. Who wouldn’t? Arrests should be made and if the evidence is sufficient, lock them up. Whether it was the federal or NT authorities, I don’t care, although I’m sure the NT has police that can handle this sort of thing. It would be the same as any child abuse case anywhere in the country. What’s the difference?

    The difference here of course is that irrespective of whether it is a white miner or a member of the indigenous community that is the offender, the debate has turned into that eternal Australian preoccupation, what is wrong with the way indigenous people conduct themselves.

  17. John Tracey:

    I knew this person, and believed the likelihood of an attack on one of the older girls in the school toilets to be high.

    The person had come here from NZ and was not an Australian citizen. Among other things, he was a sociopath, who also did drugs.

    The general attitude of school staff was to bury their heads in the sand, in the hope the problem would go away.

    The man could also make sandwiches at an unbelievable pace. He operated on a “high” due to his many addictions.

    I found the tone of most of your questions insulting, and therefore not worth answering.

    A retired principal I know had to deal with a parent selling drugs from his tuckshop phone.

    At one time, our local primary school barely avoided an investigation by the CJC over a certain issue. I am told much worse things go on in other schools.

    We live in a very corrupt society where almost anything goes.

  18. No adult has any right at all irrespective of any supposed culture to abuse a child. This thread should be closed to child abuse apologists

  19. Go, ken!!!!

    In Australia, we have laws which relate to adults having sex with underage minors. Too bad these laws are sometimes not upheld.

    I don’t care what colour people are or what their excuse is. They MAY NOT have sex with 12 year old girls – or any female child under 16 – or any male child under 18.

    We don’t give 16 year olds the vote in order to lower the sexual age of consent either.

  20. Piping Shrike, thanks for your reply at #65. I agree with each of the points you make, and I think your comment that

    ‘the debate has turned into that eternal Australian preoccupation, what is wrong with the way indigenous people conduct themselves.’

    is an important one.

    However, the child abuse ’emergency’ has two levels – the individual and the community – and I’m not sure that you are differentiating between.

    Dealing with individuals who are alleged child abusers is straighforward enough, with the application of well-established evidentiary tests. This process should occur whenever allegations are made, and will presumably be part of the current intervention.

    But the intervention is also being applied at the community level, and involves many measures that fall outside the province of policing and judiciary. The government justifies the intervention with claims of high levels of child abuse in remote communities, implying that prevailing social conditions are to blame.

    Are you saying that before community intervention can occur, you want to see the same level of proof that is demanded for punishing individual offenders? If so, I would disagree. A very high level of proof is expected in the legal process because the consequences are deprivation of freedom. Even though the intervention in its current form has many punitive aspects, it is not nearly as oppressive as a custodial sentence, so a lesser level of proof/evidence is applicable.

    My issue is not with intervention per se, but with the nature of the intervention and with many of the attitudes that have accompanied it. I’d like to see the punitive aspects removed, and I’d like to see the communities deciding for themselves what form the intervention should take.

    Just as a general aside, I’ve seen a lot written lately about alcohol in remote communities, but very little about solvent abuse. Surely its still a problem?

  21. Coral, A simple question to you and Mal brough. Have you any evidence?

    A pretty crucial point.

    I dont mean evidence of drug use (do you have evidence?) or of fast sandwich making.

    Simply frothing at the mouth about hypothetical problems is most dangerous, not just for the lives of innocent people who may be accused but because it is a total distraction from the real issues of protecting kids and substantiating allegations against perpetrators.

    WOLF! WOLF!

    The real risk, usually direct family members not tuckshop workers are protected by this facade of public outrage against Aborigines and tuck shop workers. They go under the radar because nobody is looking at where the real problem is. Same thing with “stranger danger” – making kids scared of the unknown but not equipping them at all to deal with family assault.

    Brough has a political reason to obscure the truth with allegations based on gossip. What is your motivation?

  22. Feral abacus,

    Many thanks for returning this to a serious level that this debate deserves. You are right that this debate is operating at two levels, the individual cases of child abuse and the community response, but it is precisely the lack of differentiation between the two I object to. That was what triggered my immediate response to the announcement to ask that if this was purely about child abuse then why not just make the arrests on the evidence as a normal police operation. Instead this emotive issue was used to push through another agenda, the government’s wish to appear to act for electoral purposes and redraw the framework for indigenous relations as seen by its scrapping of the CDEP.

    The problem is, the government was not the only one doing it. Looking at the original NT report, it is an excellent example of how those who profess to be on the side of the indigenous communities were using anecdotal evidence of child abuse as a means of requesting more social work intervention and funding. It is why the bulk of the report is taken up with the measures, while the report admits that establishing firm evidence is secondary. The way child abuse is now being used as a basis from both the left and the right to relate to the indigenous communities was best summed up, I thought, by the comments of a resident of Yuendumu who noted that every time they wanted to talk to the authorities about getting proper services, they seemed ‘obsessed’ with child abuse.

    By demanding that this be treated as a real child abuse issue, i.e. requesting that firm evidence be established (as with any case for non-indigenous people) I was hoping to clarify the two issues (although clearly not that successfully).

  23. Note the thread is still bubbling away and for what its worth offer my compliments to Piping Shrike for a rationally, calmly argued position.
    Understand where FA is coming from but cannot bring myself to beleive that the Federal Government is motivated by anything but the basest of motives- pandering to darker instincts, fomenting and then predating parasitically off resultant sexual hysteria. The government propagandists understand that some people, unaccountably it seems, fixate obsessively on sexual comings and goings exclusively; they fail to even notice so many other things that go on life that are tragic or help create tragedy.
    Fancy equivalencing the behaviour of courting teenagers, with “paedophilia”, for example.
    Any of you see a report on, I think, 7.30 Report early this week about the callous disruption to a NT community that was running quite well, raising goats; farming and the like and totally disrupted by an utterly unheeding Brough. Running roughshod through this community in pursuit of his puritanical and sadistic penny-pinching agenda he happily created such uncetainty as to the future for these people was palpable. A lot like W………s, only worse.
    Yet not a single comment anywhere on the 7.30 Report segment and the piteous anxiety Brough’s delinquent interference was causing.

  24. Piping Shrike & paul walter – thankyou both for your acknowledgements; much appreciated!

    Piping Shrike – Although I felt that our positions were not far apart, I hadn’t realized the extent to which you were playing Devil’s Advocate.

    It might not be obvious from his comments, but ken is your ally. As far as I’m concerned, he’s [mostly] walking on the side of the angels. Personally, I appreciate his input for the hands-on perspective that he brings, and for the pragmatism of his reality checks.

    paul walter – always good to speak to you as one Adelaide boy to another. Yes, I’d agree that Brough et al’s motives are highly suspect, but – as Senator B has proposed – this may be an opportunity for something positive to happen. Just a matter of pushing the right electoral buttons – we may not have much influence as mere citizens, but let’s make the most of what little power we have.

    Like you, I’m more than concerned that consensual sex between underage minors seems to have become the main focus of investigation by police in remote communities. If that’s the way it’s going to be, lets have AFP action in Elizabeth & Noarulunga & Ipswich & the Western Suburbs of Sydney. If we are going to deem that 16 & 17 year old boys having consensual sex with 14 & 15 year old girls is a major problem, let’s not pretend that it is race-related, and let’s also not pretend that it’s some form of paedophilia.

    Instead, let’s recognise that some proportion of the arresting officers were guilty of the same offence when they were in their youth: must be awkward for all parties concerned.

  25. Yes, JT, I had evidence. Yes, I’ve also witnessed the phenomenally fast sandwich making and at least 4 addictions.

    I’ve also spoken with the man’s sister who was also a tuckshop worker.

    As a child, he’d tried twice to kill his own sister, and was sent to live with other relatives for her protection.

    Since none of the adults would act, I had no alternative but to tell my son to go back to school and warn off as many of the girls as possible.

    Unfortunately, the man took up with a beautiful, long-haired blonde woman who had a 12-year-old daughter who looked the same.

    I wasn’t surprised when someone letterboxed the whole neighbourhood about the high school teacher.

    The only time I’ve known a school principal to act in relation to a paedophilic teacher was after he was confronted by a mob of angry parents who were tired of having legitimate concerns dismissed.

    People want statistics??? What a joke!!!

    I have never met Mal Brough and take no responsibility for his motives, thoughts or actions.

    I find your attitude to be very insulting and disrespectful.

  26. Paul

    I saw that program. A number of women were gaining skills in sheet metal work I believe. I think the intention was to build a metal work industry for the community, because trades are rare in this isolated part of the world, but trades people are needed just the same.

    The skills development program is now being removed from the community and has pretty much undermined their ability to build this industry and improve the community economy.

    There was also another Indigenous community whose economy was largely based on making a low-alcohol brew derived from yam or some sort of fruit or vegetable. This community did not have an alcohol abuse issue. However, generic policies on alcohol licensing in Indigenous communities would also undermine this individual community’s economy.

    Regarding Coral’s above post, I don’t want to contribute towards off-topic issues, but I think it’s pretty indicative of the rubbish teachers’ have to cope with and why it’s hard to attract males to the profession.

  27. Just tell me why,
    Donna?
    How does Mal Brough gain such perverse enjoyment from harming good people who he has never met and knows nothing of?

  28. Donna:

    Thanks very much for confirming the point I was trying to make.

    Why deal with paedophiles, when you can kick the whistleblowers …. and worse still …. punish the victims instead?

    Why close the barn door even after the horse has got his bolt in?

    BTW I mentioned the difficulty of getting male teachers at post #60.

    Not all allegations are false. They need to be appropriately investigated.

  29. Paul

    I don’t get them either. They run the country like ruthless corporate businessmen with no awareness of social issues.

    However, if I was to give Mal Brough the benefit of the doubt, I’d say that it’s early days yet and possibly there are new policies that need to be smoothed out for unforseen consequences, such as the ones we’ve already mentioned.

    I also got the impression that during the program, the footage of Mal Brough answering questions was old footage. It didn’t come across as Brough being interviewed specifically for the program and answering questions directly related to Robinson River Community. So possibly he’s unaware how his new policies will impact adversely on them.

    But the synic in me believes that he disregard this information anyway, because the purpose of this Government is to further reducing welfare, not just for Indigenous communities, but for non-Indigenous communities as well, and at the same time falsely represent themselves as rescuing Indigenous communities from themselves.

    It’s also an election year, and unfortunately, the Liberals are trying to get the One Nation voters back on their side.

  30. Coral

    Don’t know what you’re going on about. However, if a student or a student’s parent makes a complaint that they or their child has been treated inappropriately by a teacher or volunteer, the matter will be investigated by the school and the police.

    An individual not related to the case who inappropriately involves themself based on hearsay does not make them a ‘whistleblower’. It might just make them a malicious gossip.

  31. Coral,

    Sorry if you felt insulted, that was not my intention. You are correct that I do not respect what you are saying though.

    The pifalls of crying WOLF!
    http://www.news.com.au/sundaymail/story/0,23739,22192627-5003402,00.html

    Child abuse is perhaps one of the most emotional of all subjects to discuss. Even prisoners have a strong moral position on “rock spiders”. Revulsion at child abuse is a universal emotional reaction that Brough and Howard are tickling for political reasons. Your own personal offence at this discussion shows how emotion can drown out realistic strategies to deal with the problem. If you were serious about nailing your new zealender, multiple drug addict, child killer, sandwhich making psychopath – you would do better bu presenting evidence of abuse rather than a charachter assassination of the broadest proportions in the hope that the sheer weight of your moral outrage might achieve something.

    Hysterical moral outrage is the biggest obstacle to realistic programs to tackle real child abuse.
    It is a distraction from the real job.

    I know nothing of this New Zealander but on the basis of your words alone my prejudice is that he has been innocently slandered by malicious gossip the same way Mutijulu was.

  32. Never could trust those New Zealanders..

    I’ll make just one more comment to assist in the education of those who know everything about child abuse – (Donna should know this as I bet she’s been to an in-service on it) – the major primary evidence of child sexual abuse comes from he mouth of the child and with a trained and untainted questioner – medical evidence is rarely accurate and almost always subject to legal debate, behavioural evidence is only ever secondary and can be interpreted in any number of ways and is only ever used as indictors and requires usual disclosure corroboration.

    Sex between teenagers is not child abuse, just ongoing examples of the breakdown of social – developmental appropriateness. The fact that many of us may have indulged in our youth neither make sit right or wrong but merely shows that the exploration of the limits of development and socially appropriate behaviour are normal aspects of development. Where it becomes an entrenched norm and unrelated to such development is the precursor of social decay and descent to animalism – this I do not approve of – but is a separate issue to child abuse.

    The focus of all child sexual abuse investigation is on the needs and future of the child – offenders are basically ignored by the welfare system.

    There is no doubt the intervention in NT is based on some form of ultra – moral Christian retentive conservatism and a good dose of political pragmatism – PS far from being calm and rational Paul is trying to find ways, to discredit something that he sees as wrong, and by doing so getting into waters out of his depth rather than be calm and pragmatic and accept – well we know its a crock but how can we get some benefit from this.

  33. Ken

    I’d hardly say Paul is being far from calm.

    I think it’s a case of he took you to task regarding your own far from calm comments, and now you are attempting to discredit him as a pay back.

  34. Donna, am moved to a feeling of great magnitude and import. Can only quote from Shakepeare at such a time.
    Merchant of Venice, right at the end:
    “A Daniel come to judgement! yea, a Daniel!
    Oh wise young judge, how I do honour thee”.
    Those of the cogniscinti will recognise how closely in tone and nature the speaker of these words resembles a certain loiterer adjunct of these self- same threads, who has enviously bespattered the good name of wiser souls of gentler repute.

  35. PS meant Piping Shrike not Paul, my puncutation error, at least I alwasy acknowldeg error or recognise the vailidity of other points of view unlike others Donna.

    While I may criticise PW, particualrly when I disagree and when he descends to eitehr excessive shrieking with no factual basis or intellectual snobbery as above , but quite often i agree with him

  36. Ken:

    I too am tired of insulting supporters of paedophiles whom they’ve never met, and those who say they are teachers, but leave a person in serious doubt.

    Moral outrage is the result of inaction. The biggest obstacle to programs is inaction.

    Yes, we are in a period of social decay and descent into animalism, but I think there is a definite connection between that and the child sexual abuse problem.

    Whatever is socially accepted (or ignored) is encouraged.

  37. Coral, you may well feel you are descending into “animalism” but if you are serious about avoiding offence then you should restrict this assesment to yourself.

    Your new stage of moral outrage, from personal slander to gross exagerations, generalisations and untruths may well justify Mal Brough, the RSPCA or the anti N.Z. league, but it is irrelevent to dealing with child abuse.

    Get off your high horse before someone else with moral kneejerkism might accuse you accuse you of molesting it, given the obvious “fact” of your obsession with animalism.

    What is animalism?

    Is it animism, as in the connectedness of all species in Aboriginal culture?

    Is it beastiality, as in unfounded and malicious allegations some might make of you and your high horse?

    Is it like vegetarianism, but you only eat meat?

    Can you explain how this “animalism” manifests in Aboriginal communities?

    Coral, if you are really tired of insulting people as you say, the solution is obvious. Don’t do it!

  38. Firstly, Ken, it is true that we sometimes agree. Glad to hear it was only The Piping Shrike you were trying to head high; admire your ethics the more for this sharing.
    Secondly, JT- excellent refutation.
    How does offending party know we are paedophiles when SHE has never MET us??
    A slap round the despicable face, for someone who calls people who despise paedophilia and oppose the trivialisation or exploitation of it for
    base political or media sensationalist motives, paedophiles:
    In effect people like her cry wolf and draw attention away from real problems, hence ensuring even more harm is done in the real world.
    You, my nasty female friend, are more a sympathiser of paedophilia and paedophiles than we could ever be.

  39. Ken

    Sorry, but I still think you go a bit too hard on people at times when I believe you know better.

    Coral

    Better be careful what you say about people at your son’s school. If someone from you son’s school was to read your posts, they might pass them on to the person being libelled. And that person may litigate.

  40. Paul Walter and John Tracey:

    What a pair of despicable creeps! Other readers will see you for what you are without any help from me. Regular readers will be well aware of who supports paedophilia and who doesn’t.

    If either of you knew how to read, you would know that I haven’t called anyone contributing to this thread a paedophile.

    I said: “insulting SUPPORTERS of paedophiles”. Don’t you know what that means?

    Donna:

    I don’t make libellous comments about other people. The truth isn’t libel.

    Indigenous Women Unite!!!

    Lock up your daughters and keep an axe handle at the ready. When you need to use it, AIM LOW!!!

  41. Paul

    Thank you for your kind words. I find much wisdom in yours, JT’s, and Ken’s comments as well.

    Ken

    Well how about easing up?

  42. Donna – thanks, we don’t want this blog to be toooo much more of a boring one sided view of the world do we.

  43. You’re right Ken

    That’s why it’s important not to silence Marilyn and Piping Shrike.

    Their is a lot of wisdom in their words.

  44. Am humbled. Donna, much wisdom in yours, too.
    Ken, etc, will promise hard to try not to be naughty again. Even you ARE horrible to me, I should not be nasty, too.
    Even Coral.
    The lofty and wise Feral Abacas once said in an echo-y voice from a distance above and beyond, that I should not fight with my virtual ‘sister’.
    And we ARE on SUCH a long journey…

  45. It was her fault, not mine. Remember, I had witnesses. Nice bloke having a rough trot…Everyone knows the truth will out one day.
    It was the devil made me do it…… SKANK!!

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