Priorities

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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54 Comments

  1. The Advertiser didn’t write a single word about the woeful conditions in Colebrook farm for aboriginal girls where Lowitja O’Donohue was sent as a 2 year old.

    Probably because the Murdoch hacks have been calling her a liar for years.

    The place was deemed not fit for animals but little girls lived there.

  2. I think the reason people care more about fuel prices than they do about sexual abuse is that it hits nearly everyone in the hip pocket.

    Since people mostly don’t care about anyone or anything outside of their own 4 walls, should we surprised?

    Most people are more married to their cars than they are to their spouses.

    More and more cars continue to clog suburban footpaths and roads, to the point where a person almost has to send up a flare to attract the attention of a bus driver.

    The Queensland Minister for Police said she wanted to keep a particular paedophile behind bars permanently, since he is alleged to have recently reoffended AGAIN!

    She said the government won’t do anything to keep people like him locked away permanently.

    It’s time they started looking at other people’s human rights, not those of serial perpetrators.

  3. I have disappeared off this blog site,like some secret agents,knew I had cats eyes marbles in my pockets…and I wasnt ever going to play a game against them.So similar fate ,as the Senators thoughts appeared in a round about way on Current Affair.Proud and public displays of parenthood in unacceptable ways manifested,on Channel 9.I dont need to comment,I have won the marbles competition this week,because,if there was no computer error,no pursuing attempt at suggesting..I have been involved in these crimes.Backdoor and front door always open..to the elements,then the penalty against my opinion,in that it isnt here..could mean it was a first class opinion.Marbles in my pockets ,cats eyes too boot,means censorship is placed on those highly considered.

  4. I was horrified while listening to last nights(Wed 9th)ABC PM program,where a professional woman(Psychiatrist?)from Ballarat enlightened me of some comments made from the Bench & by Barristers etc,that a child sexually abused by a family member wasn’t as damaged as would be if abused by a stranger?I was speechless that such things would be even thought of.Further,that sexual activities between sibling & parent for example,could in fact require the child to also be charged with incest!WHAT???Go to the website!I couldn’t believe it.The woman believes,that those abusers should be charged with rape -to make it the major crime that it is!

    THEN,a male legal person voiced his disagreement with this,as RAPE IS VOID OF CONSENT,BUT A CHILD COULD CONSENT TO THEIR ‘INVOLVEMENT’ with the family member.I was shocked & disgusted by this stage.If an adult who’s drunk could be deemed as ‘not giving consent’how on earth could a little child of 8 give consent,when they’re usually ‘groomed’ by a trusted & loved family member.The idea that a father/mother step-father/mother’s abuse is not as serious as a stranger begs belief.This legal person said that parents etc are usually treated more harshly,but the psychiatrist read from an actual case,the words were by the judge!Well,to say I was sickened with disgust is an understatement,which leaves me to ponder how important we hold kids lives & their protection from any harm,sexual or otherwise.Listen to the interview and/or read the transcript!I know how I’d have felt about anyone who abused my kids & now grand kids!Sufice to say that my commitment to non-violence would be seriously challenged!If that’s the current view of the Court which is supposed to uphold community standards(so we’re told)no wonder kids are forced to living on the streets, end up as drug/alcohol users & abusers!See what you think?

  5. Agreed, surely this was in the conetxt of the 60 yerar old bloke and his 31 year old daughter that has been in the press here lately.

    No one could seriously even copnsider consent by an 8yr old.

  6. Naomi:

    Yes, someone(s) want to empower the children as much as possible, so they can take advantage of them whenever they like, without having ANY responsibility.

    This is a point I’ve been trying to make for quite some time.

    I think the government also intends to use the children thus empowered to euthanase their elders.

    Last night I was speaking with a lady who works in a child care centre. She may not smack or discipline anyone in any way – only make positive suggestions, which mostly fall on deaf ears – even if children punch and kick her – not to mention injuries inflicted on other people’s kids.

    Children cannot be “expelled” or “excluded” for fear of legal repercussions.

    The children make their own “choices”, even if they are babies. Let’s all think about where that is leading.

  7. No, Ken.The item started with that matter,but then went on with an interview with Dr Caroline Turner who is an expert on CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE from Ballarat Uni.Go to http://www.abc.net.au/PM-click on archives,then 9.4.2008 You can listen to interview and read transcript!
    Small sample,but please read/listen to all.
    Caroline Turner
    “And I have said before and my research, my book, Court Licensed Abuse, documented case after case of judges responding to CHILD abuse cases involving family members in which judges considered CHILDREN as consenting because the incest legislation allows that.
    Up until 1994, child abuse victims in incest cases were routinely warned by the judge that they were an accessory to the crime and therefore they could potentially be charged.
    And I have a number of cases where defence lawyers, judges and prosecutors talked about a child victim of sexual abuse by their father should be charged”.

    EMILY BOURKE: And this is after 1994?

    CAROLINE TAYLOR: Absolutely, yes, for sure. I mean I’ve got cases as recently as 2004, 2005, 2006. And I’ve argued increasingly that by prosecuting this kind of child abuse under incest law, we are not able to properly deal with the crime because the incest law is about legislation to prevent adults who are consenting from inbreeding.
    “I certainly have come across cases involving children aged eight, 10 and 13, still young children, in which a judge has still maintained that the child was not harmed and that – I had one comment from a judge in a rape case in fact from New South Wales who described the rape of a 10-year-old child in these terms, and I’ll quote, “that the child was merely a sexual substitute to replace the dissatisfying sex the man was having with his wife.”
    The practice as described by Dr Turner is happening in all States,in fact “around the globe”.Need to change charges to sexual abuse & rape not incest!

  8. “Yes, someone(s) want to empower the children as much as possible, so they can take advantage of them whenever they like”

    This statement is simply illogical. By definition, if you empower someone – child or adult – you make it harder for them to be taken advantage of.

  9. Christine:

    That’s only if you look at it from a simplistic viewpoint, which includes only part of one sentence. Yes, it does sound like a contradiction in terms, but I assure you that it isn’t.

    I suggest you try to broaden your perspective and look at what really happens as a whole.

    As Naomi’s examples show, once you empower children, you can hold them responsible for all sorts of things whenever it serves your purposes – and at other times, let them run amok causing damage to persons and property without any repercussions.

    A magistrate could simply tell a child he/she had “made the wrong choices”, just as they do in child care centres and schools.

    The whole thing is part of the destabilisation of our society.

    Please re-read the rest of my post #6, and it should give you more of an idea.

  10. Lorikeet-The very fact of introducing child care issues relating to under 5’s not being physically chastised into the discussion on child sexual assault,you demeaned the topic.These are 2 very different issues,& muddying the waters is just as destructive as a Judge warning,that an 8 yr old could also be charged.THERE’S NO SIMILARITIES WHATEVER! The law should be changed to remove any Judge/Barrister insinuating or using a child’s abuse as being a party to the crime.That horrifies me!It has nothing to do with corporal punishment in pre-school or any other arena.However,there’s plenty of evidence about children being ‘groomed”threatened with punishment including death’called ‘evil’ etc!

    Last night’s ABC PM had a follow up interview with both Dr caroline Turner & another woman,plus a male Barrister.The women are to be congratulated for refusing to change their stance,or their insistence,that children are not being adequately protected.Have a listen!I think there could be an argument about most abusers being male & males making the laws;together with some men believing in “our women” or “our children” ownership philosophy!Why would any decent human explain a 10yr old being raped by her father,as being due to the “dissatisfying sex life of the father”.Who cares about his sex life?It’s no excuse;certainly should be condemned in a so-called court of law protecting children. If we are going to do more than pay lip service to “Little children are sacred” we should demand that the laws be strengthened!
    There’s a huge difference between a child ‘bunging on a paddy’at pre-school& being sexually abused by an adult-anywhere!No similarities whatever!NONE!

  11. Naomi:

    Although I agree with you wholeheartedly in relation to males and sexual abuse – not to mention magistrates who deserve to be placed behind bars – if you tried to think across a broader perspective, I think you would have at least some understanding of what I am trying to say.

    I have worked in a primary school from Preschool to Year 7 (a relatively recent experience) – seen what’s happened in our society through 34 years of parenting – and seen through a lot of the things that have been taught (sometimes by default) in more recent times.

    The magistrates you mention are telling children that they are responsible for their own choices. They’re being taught exactly the same thing in our child care centres and schools.

    The aim is to absolve adults of responsibility, instead of teaching children acceptable behaviours (on the part of anyone). It’s a form of “negative empowerment”.

    According to an expert on TV only a couple of days ago, we now have twice as many young people living on the streets as we had 20 years ago.

    I know it doesn’t cover the whole gamut of causation, but “negative empowerment” is probably one factor in it.

    Any reasonable set of societal rules is not enforced anywhere – on children or adults. This places our children, and the society as a whole, at risk.

    I don’t consider looking at a topic from a broad perspective demeans it at all. It might pinpoint causes, and bring about solutions.

    Isn’t that what we both want?

    At the end of my recent visit to the Family Relationships Centre, the Mediator (Social Worker) said I should write my own book.

    No doubt she’s fed up with all of the BS that goes on as well.

  12. Lorikeet-“According to an expert on TV only a couple of days ago, we now have twice as many young people living on the streets as we had 20 years ago.”That’s true,but there’s many reasons for this,including child abuse either direct or indirect;bad parenting -drugs,alcohol,death of parents etc or mental illness,to name just a few.

    Also,there’s a whole lot of difference between a JUDGE (Judges are higher than Magistrates,& hear more serious cases like child sexual abuse)in a criminal trial of an adult charged with sexual assault of a child,than charges of misdemeanours or crimes of causing malicious damage to property for example.(they are serious too,but not related to adult predators of kids).They should be treated accordingly.We’re the adults in charge of protecting children from harm;how many kids ‘act out’ when they’re also being ‘groomed’ or sexually or physically assaulted.I’ve heard many tragic stories of young adults who were abused-many on that ABC program were abused prior to being homeless-some were thrown out-a couple came home to find their Mum had gone-they were 8 & 12?The adults let the kids down.

    The ‘waters’ are often muddied about discipline & punishment.Discipline is where parents/guardians set down rules & guidelines;punishment is what happens when they’re broken-often include physical punishment but there are alternatives-“strong suggestions” is one,removing much loved leisure such as watching TV,confined to room,or not allowed out to play.These are alternatives to corporal punishment.ADULTS are responsible for the sexual abuse of kids,and no law or public ‘doctrine’ should downplay adult culpability.The ’state should set down laws that protect children,& in no way should children be perceived to be complicit in these appalling crimes!Those who sexually abuse kids are just bad,or evil or ??Maybe they were abused too,but the crime is still a crime that injures a child,perhaps forever!

  13. The State needs to do somewhat more than set down laws that protect children. It needs to enforce them.

    When is a law not a law? When the victim is blamed and the perpetrator goes unpunished.

    I asked a solicitor who works with juveniles why teenagers who do such things as torturing disabled children go unpunished.

    Her answer: “Because there are too many of them.”

    Surely the government can deduce that the softer we go on any kind of crime, the more the number of criminals (whether adults or juveniles) will grow.

    BTW here is the modern, politically correct definition of discipline and punishment, as advised by a modern social worker.

    Discipline is what happens when rules are broken, and does not include a smack.

    Punishment is any kind of physical act – whether it is something as small as a little tap on the hand, or as damaging as a flogging.

    It’s true that no law or public ‘doctrine’ should downplay adult culpability – nor should it magnify it out of all proportion. (I’m talking about the smack here – not paedophilia.)

    The fact remains that our Judges ARE soft on crime and the public ‘doctrine’ is soft on EVERYBODY, particularly children. (Let’s not confuse the decisions of Judges with enforcement of law.)

    Politicians are more interested in the cost of maintaining jails than they are in public safety, including protecting our children from paedophiles.

    That’s the way it has been for decades. Now what are we going to do about it?

  14. Lorikeet-Did you listen & or read the transcript that I referred to?It appears to many, that Judges & Barristers are using or misusing existing laws,or there’s a ‘loop hole’ in the Law,and that’s what’s enabling them to not treating sexual abuse when the family member is the perpetrator with due seriousness, more than just a blanket disregard, or disinclination to protect children or punish convicted perpetrators.In fact,I believe that jails are full of many people who shouldn’t be there-mentally ill for example-some place for them to be put out of public view,and don’t have to spend appropriate moneys on mental health!I also believe that jail is not the place for indigenous people,for crimes that for whites or those who can afford better legal counsel,they’d possibly get a community service,home detention punishment or?Again,jail is not the place for people addicted to alcohol,drugs or non-payment of fines!
    Corporate criminals often get off leniently.It’s often been called ‘victimless crimes’?I don’t agree!Ask those who’ve lost their future security,or had a trusted employee steal from their business?There’s been some well known national instances;HIH for example?A joke-except for victims!
    As I’ve said before,children look to us for protection.We owe them strong Laws and people to enforce them!Kids don’t lie about abuse!They also learn about priorities & values from us!

  15. Naomi:

    I wish you’d stop treating other people as if they’ve come down in the last shower, especially when it’s me.

    I know how corrupt the legal system is, and yes, corporate criminals should be handled more firmly as well.

    I suggest you make a trip to the Family Court and see just how little they care about kids – that’s if you haven’t done so already. Be prepared to look behind what is both said and done to understand the true agenda.

    I don’t agree with this statement:

    “Kids don’t lie about abuse!”

    Some do.

    A friend of mine was once subjected to an accusation of paedophilia coming from his foster son. Even years later, he’s afraid to go into the Gents toilets if there are children in there.

    He was even afraid to allow my 6-year-old son to sit on his knee.

    Kids aren’t very different from adults in this respect – they have the potential to lie about anything.

    Here’s something else to think about. Last year, some people went crook at my brother-in-law for having his 10-year-old adopted Korean daughter sitting on his knee!

    So please be aware that it can work the other way as well.

  16. Naomi:

    I tried to access your link, but it was unavailable. Your excerpt definitely demonstrates a “negative empowerment” of children – which might also be described as a “negative empowerment” of men, except for them it ends up being a positive at the children’s expense.

    I note that the information comes from Victoria, whose politicians certainly seem more permissive than other states where the promotion of minority sexuality and rights are concerned.

    When the government legalises one previously unacceptable sexual practice, more will certainly follow.

    “Sixty Minutes” has shown a family promoting their incestuous relationships as “normal” for 2 weeks running now. That’s where these things usually start.

    The government and the media put the general public through a gradual process of desensitisation, and then legalise the unthinkable. (GZG would understand.)

    One of my friends is a social worker here in Queenland. Not long ago, she had to take 2 children away from their mother, after their father (a convicted paedophile) got out of jail.

    Unfortunately the mother was expecting another baby – who will also be taken away. Social workers have been unable to convince the mother to remove the man from her life.

  17. 3. PM – Expert wants ‘incest’ labelled rape
    Summary: The case of incest in South Australia featured on Channel Nine last weekend has sparked calls for an overhaul of Australias incest law One leading expert on sexual violence says the penalties for in
    http://www.abc.net.au > pm > content > 2008 > s2212596.htm
    17k – [ html ] – Highlighted – 9 Apr 2008 – Similar pages
    I finally found it!Apparently they only leave them up for a certain number of days,then change it.It might lead to follow up interviews!
    As I pointed out on an earlier post,Dr Caroline Turner stated,that it’s happening in ALL STATES,AROUND THE “GLOBE”!

    It has nothing to do with the govt of Vic.Women & children were/have been legally? recognised as ‘men’s belongings’for centuries.Look at how long it took to fight for just rape laws & how the laws of cross examination were abused recently-a 13 yr old cross-examined for 3 days over a rape where she was a victim when she was 11.The Judge finally decreed it a mistrial.Only when we(usually women-those in interview against changing said incest laws to rape were women-those opposing it were men-not suggesting many men want tougher laws of course,but?)
    I agree with you about the sad state that men find themselves in,with being accused or assumed that their genuine affection is sinister?I feel for them!It’s appalling,but does strengthen the view,that for this to change,we need men to be more outspoken-take Andrew’s leadership on this!Men don’t speak out enough;either berate their mates attitudes & behaviours,or speak publicly.When enough men give their ‘mates’the flick over their bad behaviour,we might get somewhere.
    The football codes have a lot to answer for too.The hypocrisy is sickening.Look at the Bulldogs of yrs ago,& attitudes to grog & violence on & off the field.I’d like a Royal Comm into violence & abuse-why,how,where does it come from?police increased use of violence-water cannon-tsazer guns,Why?Messages to kids-TV,video games,movies?

  18. Naomi:

    When I spoke to the person who was falsely accused of paedophilia again, he said most kids don’t lie about it.

    In his own work with children, he would put the number of liars at only 10%.

    When my son reported paedophilia on the part of someone in his workplace (excellent proof available), he was told to keep a lid on it. This upset him to a significant degree.

    No matter what the issue is, most of the grief seems to be delivered up to the victims, whistleblowers and peacemakers.

  19. Shame on your son, Lorikeet. By keeping silent people are enablers. Even a phone call to a hotline might add one more bit of evidence which will enable the perpetrator to be stopped. In my workplace we have a legal duty to report any suspicions we have of abuse … what a pity more people don’t say something.

  20. togret:

    My son works in a high security job. All he can do is report the problem to superiors.

    BTW if you read my post #18 again, you will find that he did say something.

  21. Lorikeet – with due respect to a situation and a person I only know as you describe it, there is a hotline people can report suspected child abuse to. Calls can be anonymous.
    http://www.stopchildabuse.com.au/support/tel.asp

    Anyone working in a high security job, one would have thought, would have undergone ethics training. My own personal values would not allow me to ignore child abuse whether ordered to do so by my superiors or not.

    I feel this has got too personal, I don’t want to criticise anyone else any further so I will say nothing else on this matter.

  22. togret:

    It is clear you know nothing about the rules governing national security and its government employees.

    You and I could phone a hotline or go to the police with evidence. Some people cannot, and they find it very distressing.

  23. Hi, I am Dr. Caroline Taylor, not Turner, as has been reported on this site. I was interviewed on ABC PM.
    I would urge people to read my books ‘court licensed abuse’ New York: Peter Lang, 2004 and ‘surviving the legal system: a handbook for victims and those supporting them.’ Melbourne: Coulomb, 2004. Both books can be purchased easily at Ballarat Books, Armstrong Street North. Surviving the legal system at most book shops such as dymocks and both books also at Open Leaves in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

    My argument on PM is that locating the rape of children within the family unit under the law of ‘incest’ is inappropriate. The term and thus the law focus on the lineal relationship between a child and their abuser, rather than on what is actually being done – that is that a child has been raped by an adult. My work shows continually that judges and lawyers often locate these cases unde the rubric of ‘incest’ and in doing so adopt the view that since ‘incest’ by law is consensual, their is no real victim and the child is, to varying degrees, culpable. The belief that ‘incest’ is less harmful is often raised in these cases and i have examples of judges arguing that young teenage girls were ‘not harmed’ by the ‘incest’, even a case where a young teenager had an abortion as a result of the sexual abuse. i have other cases where lawyers and a judge dicussed the culpability of the vitim merely becaus it was ‘incest’ and the law regards ‘incest’ as ‘consensual’ and both the judge and lawyers discussed the blame of the victim and even talked about the fact that the legislation allowed for the victim to be co-charged along side her father!
    The stupid claims by the lawyer on the program that some cases are prosecuted under a different charge to ‘incest’, eg. penetration of a child etc does not preclude the fact that the child’s biologicial conncection to the offender will be raised. Please, get informed of this disgusting legal response to children.

  24. Thanks, Dr Taylor.

    This is but one example of the negative empowerment of children – treating them as if they are adults and then dishing up a double whammy of abuse.

  25. Here’s another example of negative empowerment which is quite different again, but still relevant.

    A 4-year-old boy is allowed by his indulgent mother to sit in the “suicide seat” on a bus, because (she says) it is his favourite place to sit.

    His empowerment (having his own way) is more important than his safety. If the bus has an accident, and he gets his head cut off flying through the windscreen, will it be his own fault?

  26. The question of priorities in Australian society and legal system is a question close to my heart. You see my little boy aged three has made clear disclosures of sexual abuse by his ‘father’…for over a year now.

    Within the Legal System – Family Law, a little boys words are absolutely worthless. The legal system at a Federal Level does not investigate. At State level ‘child protection’ does not investigate.

    If I make a fuss I risk being labelled an ‘alienator’. There is a real risk I will lose residence to the abuser (alleged). Every possible way of blaming me would be explored and there is absolutely no interest in a child’s safety.

    Do I blame the legal system? …yes, but I also I believe it is the fear and cowardice of every individual in Australian society that turns its back on abused children which should share a great deal of blame.

    Where is the media? where is the protection? Where are the protests? Where are the people leaping over desks to help this little boy?

    There are a few brave people who are ‘breaking the silence’. Why haven’t they been listened to for decades?

    I have learnt that society does not value a child who is being sexually abused above the value we place on the ‘father’.

    It is up to society to ‘feel’ the truth. It is up to people in Australia to say ‘no’ and believe in the rights of children to be heard and believed and protected.

    Thank you Dr Caroline Taylor for standing up for my little boy and refusing to accept that his sufferring his acceptable.

  27. Yes, I feel sorry for you and your little boy.

    But please don’t worry about being labelled an ‘alienator’. Instead, say “Yes sir, no sir, 3 bags full sir” in the court, and then act in your child’s best interest by doing what you know is right. Take a support person with you.

    In a fairly recent group session at the Family Relationships Centre, I encountered 3 women with young children in other similarly abusive circumstances. That’s all of the other women in the session.

    Very often, what are passed off as the rights of a child are actually an irresponsible abuse system.

    I am hoping 50/50 parenting will bite the dust fairly quickly. It was brought in by Howard for the express purposes of getting all of the women out to work, and excusing their ex-partners from paying child support.

    I am pleased to report that the woman I mentioned previously no longer allows her child to sit in the “suicide seat” on a bus. She has clearly gone away and weighed up the empowerment vs child safety issue.

  28. Justice for children: I hope you can find a way to get legal advice and perhaps expert medical advice regarding your fears about what may be happening to the little boy. As an abused child myself, I believe the intersts of hte child come first, whether you have to leave the house behind or not. I know it isn’t simple, but you need to be canny, and strong .. may you find a place of safety for the child.

  29. Thank you Lorikeet and Togret, unfortunately if it were possible to protect my son I would not be posting our personal tragedy online to strangers.

    The terrible truth is that in Australia 2008, the law is enforcing ongoing abuse of chidren (physical and sexual) through the Family Court.

    As Dr Caroline Taylor describes in her book… victims are treated like lying criminals and the criminals are treated as the victims. The rate of men being charged from time of report to police to Crimminal Court is about (I think) 4%. But this is for older children and adults, can you imagine a three year old testifying in court?

    Thus Australian law is paradise for paedophilles. Children under 5 stand absolutely no chance. That’s why you read in papers where there is convictions for offences the child is usually 14 yrs and over.

    I never lived with the father but he has ‘rights’, I have to obey the ‘law’ or go to prison or lose residence. The only evidence that would convince Judge of abuse is: DNA and disclosure. I have been told by experts that sometimes even this will not be enough.

    Physical signs of abuse are rare and can be very easily attributed to other causes (e.g self-inflicted).

    There is far more detail I could describe. I know most people will find this utterly unbelievable. The shock is hard for me.

    If you have the courage to learn the truth, I urge you to visit the site: Kids in Distress: http://www.kidsindistress.org.au. This site gives testimony to my and others experience.

    The legal treatment of women and children who have been sexually abused remains one Australia’s ugliest secrets.

    Maybe it comes down to who you believe and what you already personally believe.. a little almost non-verbal child versus an adult (usually man).

    The law obviously thinks children and women are liars and treats us as such. The results – as in my son’s case, is the most perverse kind of cruelty that no amount of future government ‘apology’ will ever, ever erase

  30. Justice for Children:

    Thanks for the link.

    Can you have your child examined by a doctor and ask him/her to produce a report?

    No one is going to send you to prison or fine you. Those are idle threats used by Family Court to intimidate women. I’ve experienced it myself.

    Try to find yourself a solicitor with a backbone.

    If you live in Brisbane or surrounds, I am willing to stand beside you myself. Andrew has my contact details.

    I successfully kept my son away from his father for nearly 10 years (endangerment issue – not sexual abuse).

    It would help if you had a male partner i.e. 2 adults in the house to parent your child.

    Don’t ever sign any legal documents, no matter how intimidated you may feel.

    Nod and agree to visitation in the court/mediation, but don’t send your child to the father at all. Tell him the child is sick or any excuse you want to make. Go out early on Father’s Day, and don’t come back until evening.

    If necessary, disappear into thin air.

    I know a solicitor who got around this problem with her own children, by going everywhere the father and children went. If she hadn’t, the Family Court may have struck her off.

    Some people think we live in an equal society, but we don’t. Most part-time parents aren’t very good for one reason or another (whether male or female).

  31. Justice for Children:

    If you would like me to, I could ask 2 of my friends who are social workers if they can do anything to help, or give some advice.

  32. Justice for Children:

    Have you contacted “Bravehearts” in Queensland or a similar group if you live in another State? They can provide a very strong advocate to help you.

    Have you kept a diary record of statements made by your child in relation to sexual abuse, or any episodes of sexual acting out?

    If not, can you try to remember them and write them down, with approximate dates?

    If you make a complaint to Child Safety in Queensland, they are supposed to send out a social worker within 24 hours to interview you and the child.

    If they are called to the perpetrator’s home, I am assured 2 police officers will also attend.

    Child Safety can bring in a Psychologist to work with your child to find out (using dolls) if his claims about experiences are accurate.

    To my knowledge, there is no need for a 3-year-old to testify for himself in a court. I don’t think you can take very young children into the Family Court at all.

    Psychologists, social workers and doctors can present evidence in a court, or they can give you or your solicitor reports to take with you.

    When my solicitor presented affidavits to my ex-husband and his solicitor (which proved he was lying), they had to go into the court and withdraw their Breach Application.

    To my knowledge, supervised access can be arranged for parents who might pose a risk to their children.

  33. Hello Lorikeet

    thank you for your postings and also for the courage to stand up for my son.

    All that you describe on June 23rd almost brings me to tears…if only it were so. It should be, it should be like you describe, but it isn’t!!

    I don’t live in Queensland but even so, the state protection system is not the same as the family law system. The legal and child protection systems are completly different.

    In the Family Law system a mother attempting to ‘find’ evidence of abuse by taking child to psychologist etc. is instantly viewed as malicious. The more she tries to prove what has happened the worse it gets in terms of residence.

    Thank you for caring and if you can bear it…reasons why the experience is not like this: is at the site I gave earlier kidsindistress.org.au

    Look on the left side of home page and read the link “your stories” – you’ll find ours there (changes to hide identity etc.).

    Andrew Barlett’s speech to parliament is in there: in the “Government submissions and reports link” titled: Child Sexual Assault in the context of the family and the family court.

    Also link – Parental Alienation – written by Jonathan Humpheries, describes situations just like mine. How we are treated in court by Judges.

    If anyone else is reading this – go and have a look at how the “Justice System” in Australia spends your taxes on assisting paedophilles and abusers to access “their” chidren to abuse them with impunity.

    The disillusionment is like learning your country supports torture and you never knew. There is systematic breaching of children’s human rights all done with your tax and by the ‘system’.

    If it helps – I’ve never met anyone – not even the sexual assualt counsellor who knew how the Family Law system ‘works’. It is only through my experiences and internet searches that I know all the above.

    Also google – Recovery Orders – that’s what happens when you run.

    Some police know, all lawyers know!

  34. Justice for Children:

    Yes, I know the Family Court is bad. From my experience, their rule of thumb is “Everybody parents.” They don’t care what happens to our children.

    No matter what happens, don’t send your son to his father, or into any situation you think might harm him.

    Some people will criticise, but you just have to ignore them.

    Don’t sign anything or allow yourself be intimidated. If someone tries to break your arm, have them charged with assault.

  35. Hi all,
    I have read Caroline Taylors book, it is horrifying. I am the mother of two victims and the family court gave my two children to a paedophile father who regularly gave my daughter to his mates for sex.

    The solicitors and court experts just called us a bunch of liars and often didnt even tell me when there were court cases. They refused to even read my daughters experiences and just classified them under the word, ‘mothers allegation’. The perpetrater was in fact put in charge of doing a phone assessment of me. The court allowed phone contact between my daughter and myself and our abuser then gave his assessment of it. He used the phone contact to threaten and also to force my daughter when she was still with me to respond to his phone sex. She was but 5. She tried to kill herself at age 6. At a later date her abuser used what was to have been phone contact between my daughter and myself to harass me for sex. I tape recorded him harrassing me for sex and his threats. I gave the tapes to the authorities and the responses were that I should stop taping his abuses.

    I had no legal help and the perpetrater wa sshowered with resources, even though I was a mature aged student without money and he was working with plenty of money.

    After regularly taking my children our abuser would then abandon them-until the next time he would go to court and just have my daughter taken away from me. The basis for each time shewas taken was to silence her when she spoke out about abuse.

    The last time her abuser came and took her with the aid of an abusive associate and although I had a residency order and I put in for a recovery order. The judge immediately legalised the abduction of my daughter. One basis was her abuser said I gave my daughter one too many chickenburgers.

    Since then my daughters whereabouts are unknown to me. Her father abandoned her again.

    Child abduction a federal felony and the chickenburger allegations.
    Its crazy,
    Marianne

  36. Marianne: A dismal and shocking story indeed.

    I must ask though, are you in some way lacking in credibility in the eyes of the powers that be, is there something you’ve not disclosed?

    Was the offender a charismatic deceiver with a top lawyer to boot?

    Or otherwise, how or why could a system fail so miserably?

    No disrespect intended in my questions, I guess I seek a logical explanation.

  37. GZG -I’ve just come back to this site after LORIKEET’s comment on another post.
    I can’t believe that you asked Marianne such a question. She’s just spent time indicating that she’s not being believed, nor adequate action taken, and you “seek a logical explanation”? Unbelievable! Now you should realize why women like us get so damned angry, frustrated and resent this very attitude? I’ll tell you the “logical explanation”. That women and kids are still being treated as being ‘owned’ by men. After all this time, with amazing technological inroads into our ‘civilized’ society, Marianne and her child, and many others are having the initial abuse reinforced by inadequate legal systems, and then along comes some insensitive git and wants to know what extraneous reasons could there be?What did she do?Can’t you accept what men (mostly) are doing? The ‘Damned Whores and God’s Police’ syndrome is alive and well.I recently read a book called, “Why most men hate women”?

    The fact is, that kids don’t lie about being abused(unless groomed by the abuser,and in rare cases by revengeful partner/s)and further, there are people who are skilled in asking the right probing questions; they know by the responses of the child whether their accusations are truthful, and overwhelmingly they are! Sadly, there was a period when some lawyers would accuse the mother of deliberately ‘grooming’ the child. Mothers overseas and probably here lost their kids. This is now being exposed for what it is – a method of allowing abusive fathers/step fathers access to their victims.

    I support Marianne unreservedly, and wouldn’t insult her intelligence and trauma by questioning her bonafides. I’ve always adopted this position,and in over 40 yrs of hearing/supporting women in these or similar areas of crisis, only 1 woman betrayed that trust, and it had no relation to sexual abuse of chn!
    MARIANNE-I’d look for a women’s health centre or rape counselling service in your state/local govt area!

  38. I also don’t believe that ’empowering’ children leads to them being held jointly responsible. To say such a thing only leads me to think that LORIKEET you misunderstand what empowerment means. It’s giving children the confidence to know and act with the same views as adults should be able to-that is, your body belongs to you and nobody has the right to abuse it etc. Children have an inate sense of what’s ‘right’ – it’s the courage or entitlement to speak out about it, AND THE RIGHT TO BE BELIEVED that we should reinforce. It has no relevance to bad manners, tantrums or anything else. The fact that kids weren’t/still aren’t believed, is why (us) adults still have a job to do. I hear all the time about kids who have behavioural problems etc, and after scrutiny or maybe the passage of time, it’s disclosed that they were abused, but were too afraid to speak out. Some self harm or commit suicide eventually, end up taking drugs or other substances like alcohol.

    I’m appalled by what Dr Caroline Taylor has revealed. The question that comes to my mind, is, how many in judicial circles are abusers themselves? Otherwise, why are they protecting abusers? We know that pedophiles come from all walks of life, including police and people involved with the law(recent publicized cases reinforce this)?I’d just pick up my child and take off I think! Easier said than done I realize. There must be some Psychologist or women’s refuge or somewhere,where there’s an avenue for some protection for Marianne and her child.
    There’s a Police Unit in NSW and in the AFP that just deal with child abuse on the net for example.I’d try this avenue,plus refuges and rape crisis centres for a referral to start with?

  39. Marianne – I’ve been thinking about you and your little girl ever since I read about your horrific situation. There must be a way. There must be someone out there who’ll listen and believe you. This man is probably not restricting his activities to your child. He may be persuing sites on the Internet for example. Who knows? If you could get initial support, and that person (experienced) could accompany you to the relevant police unit, (they have methods of investigating these things – even if material has been removed from the hard drive I understand?)they may track him down re some other ‘activities’?

    I don’t know what state you’re in, and I understand you may wish to remain anonymous, but in NSW a group was established some time ago(80’s?) by mothers of kids who were in your child’s position. They were tired of the way they were being shoved around – almost identical circimstances to yours. I can’t remember the damned name. I rang the Women’s Health Centre and they don’t know either. Maybe it’s folded.
    If you put Child Sexual Assault into Google (your state) you may find somewhere to start at least. The Child Sexual Assault unit at a major police centre? Or try Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse.
    I wish you the very best in your endeavours! Keep in touch!

  40. Naomi:

    The empowerment of children takes many forms. In most cases, it has negative consequences. It isn’t just about having the power to speak up if someone is abusing you. That’s where it started a couple of decades ago, but it has moved down a negative track since then.

    Yes, the best options for Marianne could be disappearing into thin air with her child, and of course, contacting Bravehearts or a similar organisation.

    GZG:

    Here is a simple answer to your question about Family Court matters. Their motto is: “Everyone parents.”

    The government doesn’t care what happens to the children. The kids have a right to see both parents, and both parents have a right to see their kids.

    The Family Court doesn’t care if mother or father are drug addicts, drink drivers, paedophiles etc. Rights override responsibility in every walk of life these days.

    If you don’t obey their motto, your children may be awarded to the other person if she (mostly he) chooses to pursue that avenue.

    The Family Court and Family Relationships Centres don’t care what’s in the best interests of the child – no matter what the child’s age. They leave the child to make most of the choices (same as schools). I’ve been to the FRC fairly recently myself.

    This is an example of the negative empowerment of children.

    According to my friend who is a former Father of the Year, about 10% of children lie about sexual abuse. The rest are telling the truth.

    I think John Howard empowered paedophiles through the Family Court. He certainly is largely responsible for fairly recent financial, emotional and environmental damage done to our children.

  41. Marianne H says:

    Hi GZG.
    Thank you for your input. I was deliberately discredited-behind my back.

    The police said, (in a phone call to the child protection ) that the Hospital told the police, that I had been hospitalised in ‘a’ ward and had a long history of mental illness. (“a” ward was apparently the old name for the worst cases.)

    This destroyed my credibility. I didn’t find out until I got FOI. This damaging lie was given to the new judge. Dozens of welfare officers saw it. It was a complete fabrication. They must have known that.

    I wrote to them all. and said, “no this isn’t true. I don’t have a mental illness. I’ve never been in a psyhictric hospital in my life. I’ve never had psychiatric treatment.”

    The police didnt reply. The child protection wouldn’t change it. They wrote that it must be true because the info came from reliable sources.

    The Sexual assault Service did a report in 2002. I regained custody with their evidence, the evidence of a child protection worker, and the fact that my ex had abandoned my daughter, (shortly after the court had given him custody.)

    When my daughter was abducted in 2005, the same people who had supported my daughter in 2002, suddenly jumped ship, changed sides, as it were. The child protection worker (who had previously done an affidavit swearing my daughters allegations and saying she believed her), told the Victorian child protection, that she didn’t believe my daughter.The same worker wrote to me saying she was helping us.

    I think it was a case of power, popularity, incompetence and the child protection worker probably forgot to re read her own report.

    Everyone said to me that without a solicitor I was done for. I did have a solicitor but the legal aid stopped that. I found a letter where he was batting for my ex’s orders. he didnt see anything wrong in doing that,
    Marianne

  42. Marianne – I found the pamphlet to the place in NSW. It’s called DYMPNA HOUSE. Telephone 02) 9716 5100 or the web, info@dympnahouse.asn.au Fortunately, I’ve never had to contact this group; they receive funding from the NSW Govt.(MInd you, DOCS in NSW don’t have the best reputation, but much is caused by overwork and inadequate funding, I feel.)Sometimes, all it takes is a caring ‘new’ person, somewhere – whether it’s the police or someone at a centre like this. I might be naive, but sexual abuse of kids is a horrific crime – there must be someone? somewhere?

    I don’t have a problem empowering kids Lorikeet – in the final washup it must be better than the alternative. Imagine, if a child had the ‘power’ to smack his/her offender across the ‘chops’ or kicking the offender in the nether regions, yell out ‘leave me alone’ etc, rather than being too afraid to speak out. It’s like DV – too much ingrained attitude/s; that we must remain silent, or disgrace the family, cause trouble blah blah! Of course, there’s always exceptions, of differing kinds, but I prefer giving kids that authority, than them being too scared to speak up, because we all ‘tell’ them, they don’t know what they’re doing , ‘they’re ONLY kids’! Marianne, can you represent yourself? Do your own ‘homework’, provide witnesses, evidence etc? (I’ve only experienced the FC once, not related to my own kids though, and it was a while ago?15yrs in fact?)

    The attitude to women and mothers, is another area full of prejudices and sexist attitudes. “Hysterical” women, “overprotective mothers” etc. It’s frequently like living in another country/planet being female, one that too many men either cause & uphold, don’t believe, or are just too damned apathetic to take a stand – in our favour! Too many of them reap the rewards of discrimination? (money & power for a start)There’s a long way to go! I could/should write a book, and most women (my age, anyway) could too!

  43. Hi Naomie and all,
    I spent years in the court, unrepresented. I wouldn’t do it again.There were several judges. One judge, they got rid of him in the end because his cases went on for so many years. I think the newspapers wrote an article called something like the slowest judge in Australia.
    The judge who took over refused to even read the evidence and to this day I havent been given his reasons for losing my daughter the second time. I wasn’t even at the hearing and don’t have the evidence they used except that it was based on my ex’s word. As it happens a few court staff (When outside the court) told me they were shocked by what went on and I should go to the ombudsman. I did. He said he wouldnt investigate. The child protection said they don’t have a complaint prodedure. I asked help from various politicians. The child protection refused to get back to them. They gave up.
    I know my ex is part of a ring and a very powerful charismatic man and thats been the downfall. He fooled them. They never checked what he said. According to the state child protection files the Dept require a confession. He didnt confess. The DHHS said they need corroboration from a second child.

    The files look like they were trying to disprove abuse not prove it.

    Currently another politican has asked the child protection to do something. Im not holding my breath. I’ve been disappointed so many times. Child protection just refuse to respond. Its too big for them I think. I am wondering does anyone know if any solicitor does pro bono work. Hobart solicitors dont. As Im in Tasmania now, I probably wouldnt be eligable for anyone interstate. I dont know which way to go anymore.I’m exhausted with it all.
    Marianne

  44. I want to thank you all as its obvious the people writing here are caring people and that means a lot to me.
    Marianne

  45. Marianne:

    Even with a solicitor, you can be done like a dinner if you simply leave it up to him. When I produced affidavits that proved my ex-husband was lying, his solicitor went into the court and withdrew his Breach Application.

    The Magistrate was never presented with the evidence. My ex-husband was not censured by the court. The documents were probably discarded instead of being added to the Family Court file.

    I think my ex-husband should have been ordered to pay both of our legal costs, and his solicitor should have been heavily fined for dishing up intimidation for months.

    Even before I had the (watered down) affidavits drawn up, my solicitor said he would not put my ex-husband on the stand. He said he would not put me there either, because I “would not make a good witness”.

    I think I would have made a better witness than most – clearly a case of males protecting one another.

    Always keep a copy of everything, and represent yourself if you must.

  46. Hi lorikeet,
    I agree. An agressive solicitor can skew everything and over time lies can look like the truth and the truth like lies.
    The family court is a billion dollar industry. Its easier to win for a pedophile father or a violent man than it is to win for the kids and a woman I know overheard a solicitor saying to her own solicitor, ‘we can keep these abuse cases going for ever, theres a lot of money to be made for us in them”. Her case went on year after year and she lost her home which had been paid for. She did manage to keep her kids, but only by the skin of her teeth.People dont know what to expect before it all happens so its a shock. The witness box felt to me like being emotionally raped over and over. They ask insulting, insinuating questions and the way they ask can make whats innocent look bad.
    Marianne

  47. Marianne:

    Yes, the Family Relationships Centres have taken away most of the solicitors’ work, so I think they’re going to be looking for even more skulduggerous ways to drum up extra business.

    I think solicitors go into a passive mode once a man has been proven to be in the wrong. Then they have nothing much to gain from it themselves, except a verbal smack in the mouth from the Magistrate, which they all choose to avoid on behalf of themselves and their male clients.

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