Queensland Judge in the spotlight

December 11, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Indigenous issues, Media | 2 Comments

Andrew Bolt has written an article in his usual strong manner concerning the contentious sentence passed down by Judge Sarah Bradley in Cairns Queensland that has hit the media today.  Aparently, in the sentence remarks, the Judge commented that the girl “probably agreed to have sex with all” nine offenders.  The girl was ten at the time of the offence that took place in indigineous community Aurukun.  This story highlights a number of issues.  Firstly, the ignorant assumption that a ten year old girl could give legal consent to sex with nine men.  This comment shows a lack of understanding of the impact of sexual abuse on children, and the responsibility of all adults to protect rather than exploit children.  There seems to be a lack of awareness of the girl’s vulnerability.   Secondly,  the confusion of the legitimate protection of children with the devastatingly flawed government policies that lead to the creation of the stolen generation last century.  Notably, this article suggests the lack of support for the Judge’s decision from Aboriginal leaders.  Finally, I can’t help but wonder what supports were put in place to protect this girl as she was returned to her community.  During her time in foster care, it was evident that her behaviour was highly sexualised.  The foster parents clearly expressed their concerns.  Did she continue counselling when she returned to her comunity?  How was her birth family prepared for her particular needs?  It seems to me that the systemic support for this girl both before and after she was raped is under question.

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  1. This case is one that I just cannot get my head around. What on earth was Judge Sarah Bradley doing? In my opinion, the sentence is unforgivable. We know, through research, that sexual predators never do it just once so any reasoning that it was a once off for the perps is just not correct.

    We’ve had some good points raised over at our place – some against the Judge’s decision and some for.

    Rape of a 10 year old is abhorrent.
    And you are right, the systemic rape is also unforgivable. There is nothing in Arukun. It is known as a violent and unhealthy place. There is much community development to be done there.

    On another note…there’s a new foster care training organisation just started in the U.K. What really caught my attention is that the trainer is an ex kid in care. Here’s the link: http://fctraining.squarespace.com/

  2. Just had a look at the commentary on your post on this topic. It is good to see a diverse but passionate range of responses. I must confess that I am not convinced that jailing those young men would have necessarily prevented reoffending or done anything to address the broader community issues. However, the seeming lack of consequence for the offenders, and the implied lessening of severity of the offence because an already damaged girl said it was ok, does even less to address the issues, let alone keep children safe.

    Thanks too for the link for the training organisation in the UK. I would love to have a peek at how the training is done from the perspective of one who knows the system from the most vulnerable perspective.


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