Last week, Ted Mullighan, a former Supreme Court Judge in South Australia, produced a report containing over 50 recommendations and detailing his findings from a three year long inquiry which heard evidence from hundreds of children who had been subjected to sexual abuse.

Naturally, we all say how terrible this is. But as he told a National Family Law conference in Adelaide, Australians actually rate petrol prices a far bigger problem than child sexual abuse.

Ted Mullighan, a former judge who has exposed systematic child sexual abuse in South Australia, told the National Family Law conference in Adelaide that at least one in every five children would be sexually abused before they turned 16.

But surveys showed people misunderstood child sexual abuse and thought children exaggerated, he said. “And when asked to place in order the matters in society that concerned them most, rising petrol prices came first and child sexual abuse came 14th out of 15.

Which would explain why the federal government moved quickly to put in place a  National Petrol Commissioner to monitor petrol prices, but is yet to set up a National Commissioner for Children.

I should note that the establishment of a National Commissioner for Children was a unanimous all-party recommendation of the Senate Committee inquiries into children in institutional care back in 2005, but was rejected by the previous government. I’ve introduced a Bill into the Senate which would make this happen. My Bill won’t get passed of course – my aim is to help remind the government of their policy and encourage them to get moving.

I might also note that both major parties supported my motion in the Senate last year to set up a national inquiry into child sexual abuse and assault, similar to that which has just occurred in South Australia. No sign of any action to back up that support though.

The report by Commissioner Mulighan can be found at this link (pdf file). 


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  1. Lorikeet: “Skulduggerous” – I like that one.

    “I think solicitors go into a passive mode once a man has been proven to be in the wrong”

    I’ve heard that there have been one or two female solicitors sighted (or is it “cited”?) around town, but I don’t think it will ever catch on.

  2. GZG:

    I had a terrible female solicitor once – on the man’s side because I was not towing the Family Court line, and because she thought she might not be able to find a way of skirting the Magistrate’s wrath.

    Thank goodness she left the firm before it got to court.

    sited: built in a particular location
    cited: named or referred to
    sighted: eyeballed, or having ability to see

  3. GZG

    I agree they do go into passive mode.

    The legal aid said they didnt have any money left. The commissioner for children said he didnt deal with individual cases. The Ombudsman said there were no resorces to investigate. The police wrote they were investigating. The police then said that they were not investigating because the Hospital told the police that I had been locked up in the psychiatric ward.(Not true). The corporate integrity unit said that they investigated and found that this was true, on the basis that the info came from ‘reliable sources. I said, its still not true. The legal intervenor said he also backed this up. In effect they came to believe their own lies.

    The politicand said they didnt have the time. The Minister backed up her department. The child protection said they didnt have a complaint procedure. The solicitors said they were no longer involved. They all said, go back to court. The O)mbudsman and Commissioner said go to a community legal centre. The Community legal centre said, no we cant help you. The sexual assault service said we wont help. (My daughter had reported years of abuse to them.).
    The GP said, they believe my daughter is at risk of physical, particulary sexual abuse and should remian in the care of her mother. The Child Protection said that GP said I had a psychiatric illness. (Not true).

    The CP said that the teachers and child support workers reports of my daughter’s disclosures were worth nothing because the child support worker worked at a refuge and that meant she was unreliable.

    My sons disclosures were fobbed off on that the police should investigate them. And the judge said that i should be punished for asking a Minister for help.

    A womans organsiation went to a Minister asking for funding to deal with me to stop me speaking out. (And got it).

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