Paedophiles part II

The Dennis Ferguson issue continues to garner a lot of media in Queensland.

As Paul Norton notes in a comment on a previous thread, the Courier-Mail has been running strongly on whether or a not a form of Megan’s Law – where the community is notified when a sex offender is living in their region – should be adopted. This is the sort of action that might make parents feel better, but the key issue is whether it actually increases child safety. To their credit, the newspaper has run a number of comments from experts saying there is no evidence that laws like this improve the safety of children, and indeed it probably increases the risk of a paedophile re-offending. (And whilst I think online polls are unreliable, I am still surprised that the one on this topic currently has a clear majority opposed).

Online Opinion is also running a forum on the topic. They include the reminder that “it is far more likely that child sex abuse crimes will be perpetrated by a member of the victim’s family than by a stranger” and also state that the rate of re-offending by sex offenders is much lower than that for property crimes. Of course one shouldn’t forget the personal damage done can be much greater.

This is a vexed issue and an understandably emotional topic, but it is still important to try to ensure discussion about it remains rational. Trying to focus on the evidence about what best protects children is the best approach, rather than venting anger at perpetrators (many of whom were originally victims of sexual abuse and assault themselves).

ELSEWHERE: Gary Sauer-Thompson comments at his blog.

A post on Club Troppo, including some good discussion in comments on the issue and possible solutions.

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49 Comments

  1. I just turned on the TV news to see an angry crowd waving banners saying things like “Paedos go home….we don’t want him here”.

    Naturally, I thought it was a protest in Sydney objecting to the Pope’s visit.

    However, I was mistaken!!!

  2. Andrew Bartlett:

    Children must be protected from predators – and that’s that.

    The current situation is that convicted child molesters SEEM to have a licence to just wander around and re-offend as the mood takes them. If the recividism rate is only one-in-twenty [as someone said] that is still too high – even one-in-a-million is too high to take risks with the well-being of children. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue.

    Having said that however, I am not comfortable with a Megan’s Law being introduced here. Given that many of these crimes are committed inside a family [as, I think, someone said on the previous thread] would a Megan’s Law actually protect more kids?

    We would be better concentrating on prevention. That is, understanding the motivations and practices of the predators – then developing workable and just systems to identify potential predators, divert them, treat them and then monitor them. It would be a lot cheaper than tying up Police, Court and Correctional resources AFTER the crimes have been committed …. with the added benefit that the kids would grow up without some grub tampering with them.

    Prevention too, would include a full-on, positive, on-going campaign to show families the practical things they can do to protect their kids and to show kids how they can protect themselves. The “stranger danger” campaign was a step in the right direction but it was too negative and based too much on fear and distrust. Time for a completely fresh approach.

    Back to Megan’s Law. If it is introduced – then why restrict it to child molesters? Why not notify the neighbourhood whenever a repeat convicted offender moves into the area – housebreakers, thieves, drug dealers, confidence tricksters? [Don’t worry about murderers though – in my professional experience before retirement, contrary to whatever is on TV, murderers tend not to become repeat offenders].

  3. Paedophilia is a very emotional topic, especially at the moment. Although I understand people’s concerns about paedophiles in the community, I get angry when I see the mob mentality that has been displayed recently regarding this issue of Dennis Ferguson. When I see young yobo mobs carrying on the way they have in recent days I can’t help but to wonder if their motivation is more to impress their peers than to make a legitimate protest or engage in rational debate. I can almost smell the testosterone wafting from my TV during the 7pm gnus. As the police minister has said, with the level of police and community monitoring of Dennis Ferguson, the community could not be safer, so what are the real concerns here?

    If you believe in civil liberty, you can’t afford to put emotional conditions on civil rights. If someone has done their time for an offence, no matter what that offence is or what your feelings are towards the offence or person, that person has a right to their due freedom if they have served their due time. To make exceptions to this is akin to perpetuating fear for a political agenda. Look what is happening in the USA with George double ya (ie Guantanamo Bay, the rendition programme and the persecution of the Muslim community). Remember Adolf Hitler was democratically elected based on the fear campaign of the Jews. That story didn’t have a pretty ending. I realise I am using extreme examples here but I believe the principles have disturbing comparisons. Fear campaigns are always the thin edge of the wedge.

  4. I don’t think Megan’s Law will be of assistance at all, unless the government wants people in various communities to do their dirty work for them. I think that could be the case. Throwing criminals to the angry mob is far cheaper than keeping them behind bars.

    Someone said on the previous thread that any chance of trying Dennis Ferguson has been diminished by the angry demonstrations and media reports associated with his 2 heavily advertised placements in the community.

    Now let’s look at who is responsible for that. Firstly, the judiciary for siding with a criminal, and secondly, the Minister for placing him back into the community.

    If they had kept Ferguson in a cottage on the prison grounds pending an appeal, there wouldn’t have been the same angry public reaction.

    I think it’s clear from the actions of the government that they are pro-paedophile, not pro-victim or pro-community.

    When I’ve asked solicitors and politicians why courts don’t jail offenders, they just say the jails are too full or there are too many offenders.

    How can we have a reasonable standard of Law & Order when we have idiots running the country and the courts – who don’t seem to have the temerity to understand where the solutions lie?

  5. David Lennon:

    You have left out one very big, very important detail. The judge let this fellow off the hook after he had allegedly reoffended. The people are angry and concerned for very good reasons.

  6. IF we accept the independence of the Judiciary;freedom of the Press,and the right to a fair trial,then the media and the community is to blame for the Dennis Ferguson situation.The mob rule behaviour disgusts me,and the thought occurred to me,that those irrational haters were out there in the cold/dark etc instead of home looking after their kids.If they’d left the security up to the police,their interests would’ve been protected.What did they want to happen?For him to be strung up?

    The media are in danger of causing the same outcome re Dr Patel,the Qld doctor who, allegedly,was responsible for the deaths/maiming of patients in his care.Then,there’s the Obstetrician/gynaec from south coast NSW,who again, allegedly,sexually abused and disfigured many women. The Dr Death tag and ‘the butcher’ tag could be used by a Defence team with the same results as now in Qld.I believe the Prosecution in Qld is protesting the decision

    I don’t want a Police State, or any of the protections removed from the judicial system-they are there to protect the rights of all of us.If we pick & choose who will receive these rights,we’ll end up like Zimbabwe or China?Is that what we want?The Judge in the Ferguson case stated,that the case was weak.Perhaps the police should have investigated more thoroughly?Perhaps they relied on Ferguson’s past record to do the ‘job’.Sadly,Dr Haneef is sufficient for me to be repulsed by govt involvement in judicial situations-it was a gross abuse of power!That’s not the Australia I want to live in!
    Let’s not forgot the another area where kids are abused,and where the perpetrators were either moved around or overtly supported for years-the Catholic church!In fact,as recent happenings in NSW showed,the church hasn’t learnt much,even now they’ll try to get out of being responsible.No ‘screaming’ or ‘inflammatory’ headlines against those clergy?No huge mobs outside St Mary’s or ???

  7. Naomi:

    If anyone had relied on Ferguson’s past record, they wouldn’t have let him off the hook without ANY trial, thereby inciting the general public and the media into a frenzy.

    In relation to your very first sentence, the judiciary is not independent. It is run by the government. I have had first hand experience of the government interfering there.

    The press is controlled by rich men, sometimes walking hand-in-hand with the government.

    You’ve actually contradicted yourself by saying that the government interfered in judicial matters relating to Dr Haneef, thus nullifying your own argument, and letting both media and us ordinary folk off the hook as per sentence 1 of your post.

    No, the media and the general public didn’t ask Dennis Ferguson to have sex with our children, or for the judiciary or the Minister to place him into the community without ANY KIND of trial.

    Why don’t we all just stick up for everyone who does the wrong thing and not worry about the effects on the general public? Er … sorry … except for the Roman Catholic Church, that is – almost forgot about them.

  8. it is far more likely that child sex abuse crimes will be perpetrated by a member of the victim’s family than by a stranger”

    While this is true it is not the the issue at hand, and not an argument to do either nothing or something with this man.

    I largely agrree wiht Naomi, and point out to Lorikket that whatever his background and how distasteful it may be we simply can’t selectievly apply the principels of justice and expect any system to remian sustainable. What if someone decided that someone sacked by the hawke government inj 1987 for being disabled should be strung up? Silly as it sounds thats what somone above was referring to as the thin edge of the wedge.

    Having said that, this notion of not being able to get a “fair’ trial is a bit of a crock in my view. If a judge can reach that subjective “opinion” then a judge can also hear a trial and reach anotehr subjective opinion – the guilt or otehrwise.

    That is a question for the legislature to address, change the law, put the matter to trial and then let the defense prove the trial was unfair.

    It also doesn’t help that the bloke so obvioulsy looks like a creep – althouhg that of course is also irrelevant but unavoidable.

  9. In regards to the Judge’s view that Mr Ferguson would be unable to get a fair trail (a judgement which is under appeal), it should be noted that this opinion on its own did not lead to the Trial being dropped (or a permanent stay put on it). It was in combination with the Judge’s view that the evidence put forward by the Crown was very weak, and the fact that Ferguson had already been locked up on remand for about two and a half years, and the offences were of a nature that even if he were convicted of them, it would be unlikely to have drawn a sentence greater than that which he had already been locked up for.

  10. Indeed – I didn’t deduce all that from the comments – however even more reason to have put the matters before either a jury or a court and have him dealt with and if he was cleared and let off then so be it.

    The fact that he was “let off” by a view of a judge, in the eyes of the vigilantes and lorikeet types is the very reason that creates the impression of a weak judiciary, and fuels the talk back frenzy leading to those frightened people protesting about something they know nothing about.

    We have the same issue down here the DPP lets “people off” for exactly the same reasons and gets roundly hauled through talk back media etc for being arrogant, above the law, soft on crime et al. Confidence in the judiciary and civil society is so fundamental to our lives that even I can’t accept a cost benefit argument.

    The laziness and ineptitude of law enforcement agencies should be exposed rather than protected.

  11. Ken:

    I think the law needs to be changed. Hetty Johnston from Bravehearts wants a “two strikes and you’re out” type of law to be brought in.

    After that, you get to spend the rest of your life behind bars.

    The only trouble is that by the time some of these people get charged, they have already interfered with a very large number of children.

    I think your comparison with stringing people up because they are disabled is completely ludicrous.

  12. These are very thoughtful and complex comments…addressing a very intractable problem. Now if they’d just burned him alive when he was first caught, all this vexation wouldn’t exist, would it? Okay… or just given him the politically correct lethal injection. Our culture has doomed itself to drag ever-larger numbers of these crosses by forfeiting the one solution that makes sense.

  13. Retarius:

    I’m not sure if you’re playing the devil’s advocate here or not.

    However, in the days before we became so overcivilised that all of the wrong people had the most rights – fathers, uncles and grandfathers of a molested child wouldn’t have been too afraid to “deal with the problem” themselves.

    I’m lucky to have an octogenarian ex-father-in-law who has decided that anyone who interferes with his grandchildren or great-grandchildren will simply be dealt with by him.

    If he’s thrown in the slammer for the last couple of years of his life for doing the world a favour, it won’t worry him at all.

    This elderly man isn’t some ruffian. He has been decorated by the government for his many years of voluntary service.

  14. Ken:

    Good, I’m glad we agree on something.

    We definitely have a very weak judiciary in this country. I think this is primarily because the jails are overflowing, and it costs too much to keep offenders behind bars. That’s what politicians have told me anyway.

    If laws are not enforced (and very often they aren’t), we just end up with more offenders. Going soft on crime just makes the whole situation worse.

    One of my social worker friends says she is disgusted by the fact that hardened criminals are “housed” with those of lesser “experience” on prison farms. She wants people convicted of drug-related offences, in particular, to be treated separately.

    I think a combination of proper classification of prisoners, rehabilitation and workplace training ought to be practised, with PROPERLY SUPERVISED community service for lesser offences.

    The Uniting Church has a prisons ministry in a number of jails. Whether we are religious or not, I think even that is worth a go in an attempt to control anti-social behaviour.

    I think teenagers who commit crimes such as torturing younger or disabled children should get a punishment which fits the crime.

    They should have to give the victim their favourite possession, bake him/her a cake every week, and wash his or her underwear and socks by hand for a month. That is, you get to look after the person you have mistreated to make amends.

    People who torture animals should get some months of community service with the RSPCA.

    Serial paedophiles should, at the very least, be kept behind bars for the term of their natural lives – along with serial killers and rapists.

  15. What a superb topic! As a victim of child abuse myself, I recognize that it is high time we, as a community, begin to address the issue of child sexual abuse with rational, rather than emotional decisions. It is quiet obvious that as long as there is blind hatred in society, we will keep driving these offenders underground to commiserate with the like minded and the cycle of secrecy continues. Wouldn’t we be better to show some kind of acceptance to encourage these people to seek help for abnormal sexual feelings before they feel they have to offend?

  16. here is third party evaluated – evidence based child sexual abuse prevetion training availalbe online now: http://www.darkness2light.org . you also have several facilitators in austrailia. if you are interested i will connect you. here’s the hope: we as responsible adults can stop/prevent child sexual abuse in real time. do the training. start a community prevention campaign. we have all the materials you need. here’s to all children having a healthy & whole childhood. anne

  17. Rachel:

    That won’t do any good. Most paedophiles believe their practices to be their sexual orientation and, as such, will continue to do what they think nature intended.

    Imagine if we took a normal heterosexual male and told him he could not pursue any women. Will he take any notice? Of course not. He is driven by his biological urges.

    The only solution for serial offenders is a permanent jail residency or an execution, bearing in mind that most of their offences are probably never detected.

  18. Anne:

    I read your link and it sounds good, but here is Australia, the judiciary seems to prefer to blame children for their share of the sexual action, in situations where the perpetrator is also the father.

    Please take a look at comments on Andrew’s “Priorities” post for further insight.

    The Family Court of Australia awards full custody of children to fathers who are paedophiles, if the mothers won’t let the fathers see them.

    I don’t know if you live in South Carolina or not. If so, do you think you would want to bring your children here?

  19. LORIKEET In an earlier post you alluded to this person’s prior history. Under our system of law, a person’s past is not raised in court until after the defendent has been found guilty. This is for a good reason. The person is on trial for a specific crime/s, not those of the past. Once found ‘guilty’ their past convictions are taken into account re sentencing. This is a separate part of the judicial process, and one that I support.
    Jails are full of people who’ve not committed horrific crimes. At least 80% of prisoners have had or suffer from a mental illness. A high percentage are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Govts prior to elections like to trot out the ‘get tough on crime’ business – what it usually means, is get tough on the lesser areas of crime. Also, people often get the justice they can afford to pay for. Hence, corporate criminals, who often cause as much or more anguish than stealing a few hundred dollars, often have money, and either get off, or get a relatively minor sentence. Rodney Adler, NSW, HIH debacle is a good example.
    Also, locking up people just because they can’t afford to pay fines is a joke. All it does, is put people in a position to learn how to become ‘better’ criminals.
    We have a situation in NSW, where juveniles are being locked up instead of being on remand awaiting trial – usually for minor crimes. The juvenile detention centres are dangerously full – at least 2 in a room – some put in adult prisons? How stupid is that?
    The pedophile in QLD was entitled to a just & fair trial. Anything less demeans us all. Who decides on who gets justice? The media?Govts? What if the person is innocent? Who ‘fixes’ the mistake? I have no warm feelings for pedophiles, or those who attack women & kids at home either, but I don’t want kangaroo courts, or Guantanamo Bay type justice? No way!
    As a person who’s been on jury duty, I know that what’s said in court, the unfolding of evidence is often different to the sensationist coverage of some media

  20. Lorikeet:
    “The Family Court of Australia awards full custody of children to fathers who are paedophiles, if the mothers won’t let the fathers see them”

    That’s a bit of a claim isn’t it?

    Is this in the legislation, or could you name some names & case references?

    [My position is anything but to defend paedophiles, rather to highlight the implausible grandiosity of the claim … and I hope not to stand corrected]

  21. GZG:

    Did you actually read the “Priorities” post?

    I don’t know everything that’s in the legislation, but I think women can also be fined or jailed for not sending their child/ren to the father. They don’t care if you have a legitimate reason or not, but a lot of what is legislated is only “hot air” used to intimidate (primarily) women.

    I didn’t care WHO wanted to fine or jail me. I found some grit and came out fighting in ways you might not expect. I will always act in the best interests of children no matter what happens.
    The bottom line is this. They don’t care what happens to our kids because there are too many children from broken relationships and the cost of dealing with it all is much too high.

    When I was divorced in 1998, the Family Court reminded me of a public abattoir of human lives. They sent several people into the courtroom together.

    A couple of years later, they were bringing all of the people (at least 40 I think) into each courtroom before they started. The magistrate or registrar would just quickly rubber stamp your divorce application after asking a couple of questions in passing.

  22. GZG I agree with you. Apart from the horrific account from Marianne, (of which I abhor and like you,am horrified) I haven’t heard any other complaints from women re their alleged abused kids. I think I would, having the circle of friends, acquaintances, and my finger on the pulse, so to speak.
    I do know, that women have been unjustly treated re domestic violence, and some have lost their chn due to some pretty smart Psychologists(who incidently started in the US, and took on the same persona as those who blamed mothers over SIDS – some of those women have been released from jail and completely exhonerated!). I think we need to be very careful, and only assert these things (courts awarding custody to peadophile fathers) only when we have actual proof – otherwise, men will be in the same position as many women have been over the years! Horrific miscarriages of justice. However, I’m sure, that there could be situations like LORIKEET has asserted, but we don’t know do we? If we want a great system of justice (and I do) then we can’t go around spreading stories that can’t be substantiated. Innocent people’s lives are ruined this way. Some, both men and women, have been driven to suicide over the years. I don’t like to think that I’d be responsible for that.

    It all boils down to good policing. Good police, who are trained very well, and there’s plenty of good stories about this. When injustices happen, we should learn from them and try and recover the ‘damage’. Tonight’s Australian Story (ABC 8pm) is about one woman’s frustrating experience re protecting her children and grandchildren from her violent husband. I suspect, that there’s probably more injustices re DV than pedophiles, but I’m willing to accept if I’m wrong. I’d be interested in the views of Braveheart, who’d have more experience than I in these situations. We do the victims an injustice by exaggerating claims.God knows,there’s too many damaged kids & adults already!

  23. I dont know wether anyone here has read a complete story on the Jon Benet Ramsay story of a rape and killing of a Colorado girl well and truly covered up.This was just one Mount Vesuvius under the backsides of Republicans,and Democrats alike in the period before her death to today.Since some members of their governing ways have been caught,well and truly compromised. A site called Conspiracy Planet has backgrounded some of the connections with a child prostitution or high powered call-child paedophilia ring,and how the CIA may have been involved over a long time.The father of this child was close to the Governor of Colorado office,and a link with Hunter S. Thompson a well known journalist transpires.There are allegations there that are impolite in maybe even Australian Democrat circles,for valid reasons of hoping it isn’t as bad as it almost seems documented.One could readily think,even mentioning the site,might find oneself a victim of a laser attack from outer space.I take that all seriously,because,the Americans do seem to be forcing everyone into a rush that never ever questions their role in history and the well documented now death of millions by more than war engagement alone.So even if this blog area is devoted to a particular case of pedophilia,it spills over to the world again.And I wonder about that man,undergoing some sort of control experiment to damage kids and families.You could probably say,I dont trust peoples motivations much,and the more I read about the U.S.A. I wonder if they haven’t killed me already.And the powerlessness of knowing the evil will have almost every word as I type it,sitting smugly in the U.S.A. and never ever publically attacked on this,is wrenching indeed!?

  24. GZG, Naomi, Phil:

    Be prepared for plenty more rude shocks coming in the future.

    We don’t have enough social workers to fully investigate what goes on, but plenty sticking up for those who don’t deserve it.

    What is supposed to happen in theory is very often NOT what happens in practice.

    I think I already mentioned a solicitor friend whose only means of protecting her children from their paedophile father was to go everywhere the children went.

    If she had accused him in the Family Court, the magistrate would have laughed at her and had her struck off for non-compliance.

  25. Does anyone get the feeling, that those who are protecting chn from abusers might be going about it the wrong way. Why not go to the police first? Why rely on a magistrate in a lower court, family court, who’s not experienced in these things, who’s overworked etc, when it’s a police matter. There’s squads (for want of a better term)in each state that only chase internet paedophiles etc. There’s been some pretty amazing arrests etc in recent times. Now these people are experienced, and probably incapable of being shocked. They’ve removed a few kids (I’ve heard of) they perceived were in danger. They liase with police around the world – certainly Scotland Yard etc.

    Then, if the mother (usually) isn’t satisfied with the response, she goes to the Ombudsmen, her State Member of Parliament or the Media as a last resort. Now if I’m being naive etc, I apologize, but I’m damn sure I’d make someone take notice. Braveheart, women’s refuges etc must know the ‘right’ person/people to talk to. Each major police station has a DV experienced officer/s. Most decent police would hate child abuse; they’re parents too. If they don’t take people seriously, I’d suggest that they are ‘sympathetic’ to child sexual abuse?
    You only need one person in the right place to listen & investigate your complaints – just one to start with! As I’ve mentioned before, trained people in this field know how to interview chn, and can tell by their responses – the truth! Kids don’t lie unless they’ve been threatened! It takes people time to gain their trust, but it can and is done.
    Abuse of kids (or anyone) is a serious crime! To protect my chn I’d walk (and yell?)until I got satisfaction, and yes, not allow them out of my sight. It must be a nightmare for these mothers!

  26. Naomi:

    Didn’t Dr Taylor and others tell us that going to social workers, psychologists and the police didn’t work?

    Sexual abuse can take many forms and is sometimes hard to detect or prove e.g. digital abuse, showing children pornography, sexual acting out with other adults in front of children.

    This may be hard for some to believe, but most men I’ve encountered say it’s none of the mother’s business what the father does when kids are in his care.

    In hindsight, I think all parents should do spot checks on one another, if they suspect something bad (of any nature) is happening.

    If you don’t send your children to their father, nearly all men will treat YOU as if you are the bad guy, even if they think your ex-husband’s behaviour is bad.

    Most men think males have more rights than women or children. They’re only interested in maintaining their power base. Perhaps some police officers, psychologists etc are no exception?

    I wouldn’t agree that children don’t lie unless they’ve been threatened.

    A teenage boy took sexual advantage of his foster parents’ nine-year-old daughter. When she told her father, the foster son made an accusation of paedophilia against the father in order to get himself off the hook. Social workers took the boy away, and treated him as the “victim”.

    The couple involved are close friends of mine and excellent parents, had even written the boy into their Will, since they didn’t have a son of their own. They never saw him again.

    All kinds of things go on, and it’s sometimes impossible to tell WHO is doing the lying. That’s why the Family Court believes no one. They also have no interest because it costs too much and takes too long.

    How would we all like to have to invite a paedophile to dinner with ourselves and our children, just to make sure our kids were safe while in his company? That’s what the solicitor said she had to do in order to keep her job.

  27. Where can one start! – it’s not worth it.

    One point though that can’t be let through, adolescents may or may not lie, but the point Naomi was making I think, and I know from my own work background is that young children ie 2-10 or so, don’t lie, unless very cleverly coached.

    Simply becasue part of the skill of the inetrviewer, (and by the way not many police were, or at least back in my time, either capable or interesetd in interviewing CSA abuse cases), is to elicit information from the child that would not be known to a child of that age unless they had experinced the behaviour being alleged. Often by way of drawings, or metaphorical story.

  28. Ken:

    The thing to remember is that the Family Court’s motto is: “Everyone parents.” Things will be hunky dory even if they’re not.

    Dr Taylor also told us on the “Priorities” thread that children are being held responsible in the courts for participation in incestuous relationships.

    Solicitors in the Family Court have to pander to the magistrate and the motto. If they even think of putting forward a case for anyone (man, woman or child), they are likely to get their toes chopped off for overstepping the mark.

  29. The problem I have about the debate of Dennis Ferguson’s right to a fair trial is that he has all the ‘rights’. A five year old girl against a grown man and the state backing his ‘rights’ has hardly a chance. In the current debate she hardly features.

    Will she ever have a ‘fair trail’ , will she ever receive any kind of justice for what ‘may’ have happened to her.

    Based on all I have read and personally experienced with my own small child (Family Court). Victims of sexual abuse almost never receive validation for his/her suffering from the Australian Justice System.

    This little girl is going to trial so that Ferguson can be found ‘innocent’ and most likely due to ‘lack of evidence’ . Justice will be seen to be done.

    If any one cares to look the human rights of victims, especially chidren a fair trial for them doesn’t exist.

  30. Justice for Kids:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Do I care if Dennis Ferguson gets executed? No.

    Did I care when Saddam Hussein got executed? No.

    We live in a world that protects and respects the rights of the guilty, while punishing the innocent – not just in the courts, but in all walks of life, whether we’re talking about adults or children.

    I think very often that women’s hands are tied because they don’t have the financial wherewithal to fight those with greater monetary capacity in the courts.

    In any case, you can’t get into the Family Court these days until you have been to the Family Relationships Centre, where they employ trained mediators drawn from solicitors and social workers.

    They don’t seem to care what anyone does, because “everyone parents” and even very little children seem to be empowered to make choices that could be harmful.

    If mothers don’t co-operate, they can then be bludgeoned by the father (or sometimes paternal grandparents) in the Family Court.

  31. Lorikeet … how would you do things differently from how they are done by the Family COurt now? GO back to the old system of sorting out divorces? I know it will never happen, but I’d like to know what changes you think ought to be made.

  32. Lorikeet – if you are going to address me directly, please address the issue that was disucssed as a result of the preceding post and not ignore it and carry on with another series of self evident generalisations.

  33. LORIKEET -“Naomi,Didn’t Dr Taylor and others tell us that going to social workers, psychologists and the police didn’t work?”Yes, but there are ‘good’ police who are working 24/7 looking for paedophiles in chat rooms etc in Aust,Britain and the US. You just keep on ‘shopping’ until you find someone who takes you seriously – the same for a doctor etc.Go to state or federal members,Attorney General’s office, or the specialist groups I mentioned – the Rape Crisis Centre for example, in Sydney.
    KEN-those people who interview kids usually have a degree in Psychology, and are specially trained just for that purpose, as are those who work with Homicide squads etc.
    Those who are the biggest threat to kids being sexually(and physically abused) are family members or friends, so there’s a certain type of hysteria going on re strangers. As for courts going ahead with cases without sufficient evidence, what’s the alternative?Kangaroo courts?If someone is accused that’s good enough to lock them up or as LORIKEET would like, execute them?That would be great for our system of justice wouldn’t it?How long before we resembled Zimbabwe, or Chile under Pinochet or Iraq under Saddam?
    I don’t agree with capital punishment, for anyone.Bush signed about 130 death penalty warrants while governor of Texas,at least 10 have since been found to be innocent,and more are being investigated.Ooooops! Sorry?Not good enough.As for Saddam Hussein, I don’t want to resemble him or his ilk in any way,none at all, and execution is state sponsored, cold blooded murder in my view!He was executed to keep him quiet,not for what he did, which I agree, was horrific.He was executed for 147 murders;what should happen to Bush/Blair & Howard for illegally killing over 1 million in Iraq?Afghanistan,similar number?Hanged,drawn & quartered perhaps?Aren’t “we” the system of justice?

  34. Ken:

    I’m not sure what you’re on about. You will need to be more specific.

    The Family Court works with generalisations. That’s why “everyone parents”.

    This is the 21st Century – 2008. I think your experience could be a bit out of date.

    It also doesn’t take into account things such as genetic knowledge, or the huge access children have to the internet these days (porn), or the many amoral people who take part in sexual activities no matter who might be watching.

  35. Dolphin:

    That’s a hard one to answer.

    First of all, I would make access to Relationships Australia for couples counselling much speedier. This might also include showing the couple a movie showing many of the very negative aspects of divorce.

    I would try to do something about people who promote the impermanence of marriage instead of encouraging commitment.

    In cases of relationship breakdown, the idea that “Everyone parents” is good in principle, but the courts need to cease burying their heads in the sand.

    If there’s evidence of paedophilia, drink driving, drug abuse or neglect by either parent, the Magistrate should act on it.

    The Magistrate should censure the person involved very firmly, make him/her pay a large fine, and send him/her to rehab or social training classes.

    If it’s a case of paedophilia, the person should go to jail and only be able to see the children under strict supervision, if at all.

    I would do away with 50/50 parenting in favour of the children living in one stable environment, with the absent parent having visitation twice per week, especially if the children are small. That might involve one evening and one full day – the same days every week, where possible, without overnight stays.

    I would not allow persons who have left the other parent to do all of the hard yards of parenting (while they themselves had almost total freedom) to take the children away from him/her after finding a new spouse. In that case, a swift kick in the behind that really hurts should apply.

    Let’s have censure and a VERY LARGE fine for solicitors who deliberately intimidate parents.

    Finally, I would come down on people evading paying their child support like a ton of bricks. I would hit them with almighty fines to discourage further financial abuse.

    BTW might I suggest you read the Centrelink thread to find out what happens to people who complain about working conditions e.g. the man who refused to use faulty cleaning equipment

  36. Naomi – I know all that- I am one of those specially trained people albeit some years ago. Much as you no doubt would find that extrmely difficult to accept. I made no reference at all to any of the other points you made in reference to me.

    Lorikket – I was not discussing courts at all. You inferred that becasue an adolescent boy you knew lied, “in youir opinion that is” then by infernce this could imply children lie more generally. I simply discsused that sweeping genralisation in the conetxt of my acutal working experince and very well dociumented clinical evidence, particualry with young children, which is bascially they dont lie.

    It is not helpful in my opinion to infer they do.

    I made no mention of courts or the like at all.

  37. Ken:

    The adolescent boy was being fostered by close friends of mine some years ago. The foster father received a Father of the Year award in the 1990s.

    He has worked extensively with thousands of children, and has also been responsible for helping to put paedophiles behind bars.

    One noteworthy paedophile had abused hundreds of children and only spent 8 years in jail.

    The man who got Father of the Year is the one who said about 10% of children lie about sexual abuse, not me. His knowledge and experience with children crosses decades and is also up-to-date and recent.

    Children learn to lie when they’re still in nappies. They’re human beings, just like the rest of us.

    I will reiterate that, in 2008, more children are exposed to negative experiences which might give them a story line to work with – could even be past sexual abuse by someone other than the accused.

    I’m willing to accept my friend’s view that 10% of the kids are lying, and your view that some children have been coached.

    I think you would concede that some foster children can be deeply disturbed and capable of extraordinary behaviour.

  38. Certainly I agree with that Lorikeet having placed a few and seen them fall over, that’s certainly true. I would also agree a proportion of adolescents, I never like exact figures unless one knows, but certainly a proportion of adolescents might lie about abuse for revenge, expedience whatever.

    But less so with young children. It is hard to lie about something you don’t (or shouldn’t) know about, unless someone’s coached you.

  39. LORIKEET – “Children learn to lie when they’re still in nappies. They’re human beings, just like the rest of us.” I think you exaggerate – in “nappies”? Really? Who do kids get their ‘training’ from? Adults?

    KEN -I apologize. Only the 1st part of what I said was in response to you. The paragraph beginning, “Those who are the biggest threat to kids” was not ‘aimed’ at you, but in response to Lorikeet’s generalisations. I’m really sorry!

  40. We all learn to lie sooner or later, Lorikeet, but not many small kids lie about sexual matters. If they do, it is pretty much guaranteed that they’ve been exposed inappropriately to sexual behaviour, which is a serious warning sign. I am not sure why you belive a Father of the Year is someone who would ipso facto know all about child sexual abuse and psychological development. The father of the year you mention, is he the chap who says that “SU Queensland is absolutely intent on providing youth and children with hope, direction and purpose which can only come from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”? I’m sorry to have to say that I don’t agree with his ideas on religion, and wouldn’t necessarily agree with his ideas on child sexual abuse. Or is he the Father of the Year who stopped his 12 kids from watching TV? (Not saying I am a great fan of TV, but banning something that is part of our culture, IMHO, doesn’t teach kids to deal with it. Or was he the father of the Year who opposes the parents of deaf children who decide against having implants for their kids? There are arguments on both sides, which he doesn’t acknowledge. Why are these men ipso fact experts becuase they were nominated for that award?

  41. Hi All,
    They gave my children and another mans children to my ex husband because he was accused of pedophilia. Thats what they wrote down.
    The child protection were told to investigate but the child protection worker assigned to that task was a staunch PAS supporter and acted as such.

    So without investigating the sexual abuse she took it upon herself to bat for the abuser and wrote that she would wait and see if the federal court judge took my children away and if he didnt she would go to the childrens court and have my daughter taken away.

    I only found out through FOI about a year afterwards and when I asked the court for reasons I was quite simply ignored.

    The Judge voluntarily disqulified himself from the final hearing on the basis that he could be perceived as biased and another judge was appointed. On the day of the final hearing the disqualified judge heard it.

    It was biased.He cited PAS.

    I asked the court expert what he would accept as evidence of sexual assault, and what would it take for him to believe my children or myself.

    He said that the only thing which would convince him would be ‘a confession’.

    On the child protection files on my case it said that the worker involved asked the perpetrater if he confessed. He said no, he denied raping beating punching kicking and neglecting my daughter and his stepchildren. On the basis of the denial they said it didn’t happen.

    On another part of the files they said that the older stepchild abused my daughter but that it was just ‘inappropriate behaviour. My daughter was 6 he was an older teenager at the time and raping and beating my daughter seemed to be put down to some sort of childishness or like in the Northern territories case, some sort of childish experimentation.

    My daughter attempted suicide and self harmed. After she was abandoned, she said, “they told me you didn’t love me. they told me you were dead, how was I to know, I was only a little kid’.

    The court expert involved does reports for convicted paedophiles, (On the side defending them). I know from others that unwary women will go in for the one hour assessment and come out with the PAS label.

    Then their legal aid will be chopped. Its all over and done with then as the report isn’t tested in court before being acted on.

    One main thing is that many women trying to protect their children are, like myself, unaware of how to defend themselves from PAS. The real abuse doesnt get looked at.

    I found out about it years later when I listened to Radio National Parental Alienation Syndrome. Professor Freda Briggs and others, spoke about how its used to take children off mothers when their children speak out about sexual assaults on them.

    the decks are stacked.

    Marianne

  42. Dolphin:

    I don’t know who these Fathers of the Year are, but if you had read my previous posts, you would know that my friend has had a lot of experience with children, and also dealing with victims of paedophilia.

    On a more personal level, he was an excellent grandfather figure to my fatherless child over many years. I have known him and his wife for about 12 years. They have done more for children in need than any others I’ve ever known.

    I don’t find your opinion humble at all. Your attitude is completely insulting and critical.

    I don’t go to church, but I think the world was a far better place when more people did.

  43. Lorikeet – if this man is such an expert, he presumably has published statistics himself or has quoted reputable statistics – his being awarded “Father of the Year” proves nothing. If you want people to take your argument seriously when you ‘argue from authrority” then it might be better to actually _use_ an authority whose views are checkable. I could say to you that in 5 years of work in youth shelters with homeless kids in the 1990s, and knowing very well about 50 of those kids, I could name about 3 whose reasons for becoming homeless I don’t think were genuine. That, however, is only my opinion. Properly conducted research does not rely on the opinon of one nameless person, and as such is not authoritative, though many such people carefully researched, could reveal trends that the opinons of one person alone don’t support. That might be why many people here are at odds with you. You quote the views of one person as if they were the repository of all wisdom.

    If you are implying that I am not a church-goer, I don’t know where you get that from, and I apologise if an attempt at leavening my own remarks with a little humour (IMHO) was out of place.

  44. Dolphin:

    Well, some of that wouldn’t be quite true, would it?

    I’ve counselled young people out of destructive religious cults, and worked with hundreds of children myself. Some were victims of paedophilia.

    I don’t think many people here are at odds with me at all. We all have disagreements from time to time, but that is the nature of debate.

    I said: “I don’t go to church….”. I didn’t imply anything about you.

    But have it your way. People who have “Father of the Year” awards are full of deficits and don’t know very much about children.

    Let others be the judge of whether or not your opinions on this matter are humble or leavened in any way.

  45. The same type of things are happening in America as happen here.
    The things the lawyers said in my case still stunn me, such as that the court expert said that the only thing he accepted as proof of child abuse was ‘a confession’ and the sexual assault counsellor emailed my daughters abuser asking him to take his young victim, my daughter to constable********* for her to tell about his abuses of her.

    The following made me laugh about what lawyers say,
    Its from a book called Disorder in the American Courts. The things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters.

    Lawyer: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?

    Witness: No.

    Lawyer: Did you check for blood pressure?

    Witness: No.

    Lawyer: Did you check for breathing?

    Witness: No.

    Lawyer: So, is it possible that the patient was alive when you began
    the autopsy?

    Witness: No.

    Lawyer: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

    Witness: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

    Lawyer: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

    Witness: Yes, it is possible that he could have still been alive and practising law.

  46. Thanks, Marianne. That’s a good one.

    My friend who got Father of the Year said very few paedophiles admit to what they’ve done.

    But he once got a couple of victims into a mediation session with their abuser, and this time he did elicit not only an admission, but an apology as well. He said it wasn’t easy.

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