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).