Prioritising children in child protection

There is an excellent article by Joe Tucci & Chris Goddard, examining the federal government’s discussion paper on the establishment a national framework for protecting children against abuse and neglect. It is a welcome thing that we are finally getting some national leadership on this issue. However, the article points out that the discussion paper focuses mostly on adults and families, giving little specific attention to the rights and voices of children. This is precisely why I think establishing a National Commissioner for Children is so important – to have someone consistently examining policies and actions from the point of view of what is best for the child, and being able to be an advocate specifically for children.

Tucci (from the Australian Childhood Foundation) and Goddard (from Child Abuse Research Australia) also highlight the limitations of using a welfare framework for dealing with major abuse of children, such as serious violent and sexual assault.

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  1. My children were regularly taken from me and given to a paedophile father who gave my daughter (from toddlerhood) to his friends for sex. Despite begging and pleading with the various authorities, despite at least 2 suicide attempts, self harm, abandoned and left to fend for herself (she was hospitalised with malnourishment after they starved her) She was used as the household drudge. (my daughter had to get up at half past five in the morning to sort the laundry and clean. They beat her with a strap and her fathers belt (buckle end). they stripped her naked first. Why? because she mismatched his socks. She was 6 years old.

    Desite the regular bruises to her head – which the doctor said he wouldnt report because, he said, ‘a child would have to be tarred feathered and set alight before child protection would do anything and even then it wouldnt be much’.

    When my daughter made her second suicide attempt (age 9) another doctor asked the child protection to help. CP said, ‘no’, the fathers rights to residency take precedence, should she not agree to go back, then she will never see you again. Unless you force her, you will never see your daughter again.

    So what do mothers do in that situation? I imagine that mothers who have a solicitor may be able to get some help. In the face of a violent man (albeit a charismatic charmer who has police and child protection connections) with a full grant of legal aid and working, an impecunious mother doesn’t stand a chance.

    I have had people who make out they care about kids quote policys at me as a way to avoid helping my children.

    Authorities pass the buck. thats how child abuse goes on. Action to help a child takes guts and care.

    Solicitors jumped through hoops to protect the abuser. All talk no action.
    My child is so damaged she may kill herself – unless she gets the help she has always needed.
    I dont even know where she is. Used abused abandoned.
    Money talks.

  2. Hi, Marianne.

    I don’t think it is too late to help your daughter. I think The Salvation Army has a means of finding missing persons. The police should help as well.

    If you can compile a list of known associates, you might even find her much more quickly yourself.

    Try to reunite with your daughter and get her the help she needs.

    If anyone tries to take your daughter to her father, fire a couple of shots over their heads, and then call in the media. That should get you some support and attention.

  3. Hi Lorikeet,
    Thank you for replying to me.

    Ive got an email today from my daughter. She says she is angry with me and with all the ‘so called adults’ who fought over her but didnt protect her.
    Mostly she blames me for failing. The last time she was taken her abuser said that I knew she was being raped and beaten and that I didn’t love her and couldnt be bothered. I suspect she was told the same again.

    My daughter no nonger trusts me. She sees me as weak. She hates teachers ( When she told the teacher the teacher said, ‘get busy’. When she cried for her brother and me, they put her out into the ‘bag room’ they said she shouldnt have a sad face. The school have a ‘happy face’ policy.

    I am writing a book. My daughter is so damaged she is (I am told) likely to go on the run, from her abusers, from her feelings, from the system that has failed her. she is vulnerable to revictimisation.

    Most people said, they were, ‘too busy’ ‘you dont have money’ ‘you need someone to get in there and bat for you”

    The wards of the state expressed anger when the CP refused to help them and sent them back to abusers. My daughters email sounds she is at that stage.

    She doesn’t trust me because I couldnt stop them seizing her when they felt like sending her back. It was all a mens rights thing, men mustn’t be deprived of their patriarchal rights sort of thing and they were very worried that his ‘reputation’ as a man might suffer.

    We had noone apart from all the people who notified abuse, social worker, sexual assault staff, doctors etc.

    Child protection are above scrutiny. They can (and often do) find vile acts unsubstantiated. (Without investigating them).

    Usually it takes someone with clout to get action. The media are my last resort. Im at that point now.
    I dont know where she is. Thank you Lorikeet.

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