Tasmanian Times

Health

Child protection failure ‘totally unforgivable’

The Tasmanian Opposition says it is unforgivable that a 12-year-old girl who was sold into prostitution was still being seen by the same child protection worker a year later.

The worker was criticised in a scathing report by the former children’s commissioner, Paul Mason, for recommending the child’s protection order lapse, even though the worker knew there was drug use in the girl’s home.

The report found the worker had no idea that as the recommendation was being made for the protection order to be lifted, the girl was being prostituted by her mother and a man called Gary Devine.

The last act of abuse took place at the end of September 2009, and the ABC understands the girl’s child protection worker was taken off the case in October 2010.

The report found the worker had no idea the girl – a ward of the state – was being sold for sex, but Opposition leader Will Hodgman says the worker should not have been kept on the girl’s case.

“It is gross incompetence. Firstly for a government to allow this to occur, and to not adequately resource child protection,” he said.

“And it is certainly not good enough for those people who are expecting the highest level of care or even a basic level of care.

“This is a gross failing of a child at risk who is supposed to be in care, in the care of our state. For this to occur is totally unforgivable.”

Mr Mason would not be drawn on whether it was right for the child protection worker to still be assigned to the girl a year after the prostitution took place.

“What I find unacceptable is that there is still a culture of closing files and there is a culture of not requiring child protection workers to speak to children alone,” he said.

Mr Mason said he “does not have a view” about whether it was acceptable that the protection worker continued to care for the child after she was prostituted.

“She [the worker] was pretty shattered when she found out what happened, and I think she went off on stress leave at one point,” he said.

Ms Thorp was not available to comment on the girl’s case worker situation.

Full ABC Online story HERE

• Tony Mulder:

MINISTER MUST ACT NOW – NOT DISTANCE HERSELF

The case of a 13 year old ward of the state falling pregnant shows again the failure of trendy left socialist policies, not just of the Minister but also of the whole apparatus of so called independent Commissioners.

“As Minister Thorps attempts to distance herself from this latest failure within her Department we are entitled to ask whether she ALSO distances herself from the cuts to front line children’s case workers, teachers, police, nurses and other health professionals that are threatened by a Government that she is part of. But of course she can’t. As the Minister she is accountable for all the actions of her Department and no amount of wriggling will get her off the hook!” said Independent liberal candidate for Rumney, Tony Mulder.

Speaking generally on a number of debacle s within the Ministers Department recently Independent liberal Candidate Tony Mulder said,” The ‘belief of age’ defence and other ‘soft’ approaches to predation on our children MUST be abolished with a return to statutory rape laws where men were automatically charged and the reasonableness of their belief is a circumstance in mitigation. In this way the community can only be fooled once and repeat offenders are exposed and punished.”

He went on to say that the current case is,” Yet another instance of failing to protect a child in the so-called ‘care of the state’ showing we need more departmental staff on the ground and clearly demonstrates the abject failure of the trendy experiment in Children’s and other Commissioners who are blessed with 20/20 hindsight and a total inability to prevent these concerning events.”

It would also not go astray to stop letting these children make decisions for themselves. A modicum of discipline may be appropriate rather than the trendy approach of allowing children who are not well situated to be ‘masters of their own situation’.

“In this time of budgetary constraint we need more front line case workers, police teachers and nurses, not overpaid do-gooding Children’s and other Commissioners – not to mention CEO’s of electricity, water and other government QAGOs.

ABC Online:
• Thorp: Child protection can’t be everywhere
Meanwhile, Mason boils over tea party, HERE

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Two sets of rules

    April 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Thank you for the link. But I think you have missed the point I was making. Does it matter whether it was 200, 100, 12, 7 or even 1 male adult who has paid to have physical sex with a 12 year old girl?

    How can this be justified when you compare it to the voracity with which the authorities pursue others who have merely looked at pictures or read words in a book, given that a great number of images on the internet are photoshopped? I think that is the term?

    Given also the DPP’s argument that the perpetrators could not tell that the 12 year old was under the age of 18 in person, face to face, how can one be expected to be able to accurately judge the age of someone in an image on a screen (or in someone’s imagination in the case of words in a book) or whether or not it had been manufactured?

  2. Alpal

    April 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Though I have some sympathies for the general sentiment of #2’s comment, perpetuating untruths doesn’t help the cause.

    There were not two hundred provable incidences of men who paid to have sex with a 12 year old girl. The DPP went onto the ABC and made that very clear.
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/10/01/3027625.htm

    There he says there were about 12 who admitted having sex with the girl, and 7 of those made those confessions in admissible form but claimed they believed she was over 17.
    Why they are not being prosecuted I do not know. Apparently their claims as to mistaken age were “convincing” but we’ll never have the material to judge for ourselves.

    He says he’s unsure where the figure of 200 comes from but that the figure of 100 (given i believe at the sentencing hearing of Devine and the girl’s mother and was presumably accepted by the lawyers for each of those two scum bags as being accurate) was something of an estimate and it was probably somewhere between the two.

    That’s a far cry from having 200 provable cases against each of those 200 men.

    As for the nonsense around that 18th century book I could not agree more.

  3. Two sets of rules

    April 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I find it extraordinary that the authorities relentlessly pursue those alleged to have viewed pictures or read ‘child exploitation material’ on the internet or in an 18th century book, yet they completely turn a blind eye to known and provable incidences of about two hundred men who paid and had physical sex with a twelve year old girl on the basis that they all “couldn’t tell how old she was because it was dark.”

    Then there are those of the clergy, found guilty of physical sexual abuse, who seem to also be immune to the law, and even continue in their ‘work.’

    For that matter, why isn’t the Bible banned for all its depictions of such depravities?

  4. salamander

    April 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    It has happened before, and it will happen again. There are no qualms about making use of every opportunity when it comes to getting your side elected.

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