Child Protection

So your kid’s a klutz. Or a daredevil, or daydreamer.

You're not going anywhere, kid. Pic: AFP

How many times have you had to rush to an emergency ward to check that sprained ankle, bruised knee or bump on the head?

When it comes to young children - especially those adventurous types who reckon they can climb higher, run faster and balance better than anyone else - hospital visits seem to be an inevitable part of parenting.

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  • Arcadia says:

    06:59pm | 07/09/12

    Sorry, but what does the state of a DOCS worker’s armpits have to do with anything at all???  Your casual threats of violence seem more inappropriate than the hairiness of anyone’s armpits! Read more »

  • Fiona says:

    06:06pm | 07/09/12

    My son ate the beads from a bean bag at a friends when she was babysitting. He crapped floaters for a few days. At least they came out the other end. I will survive, I don’t know that I’d advise riding 200 odd ks down a highway. Leathers or not,… Read more »


Derryn Hinch is at it again, naming a convicted paedophile, and this time complicating matters by also naming his victim. He claims he had her permission, she claims he did not. It’s messy.

He's done it before ... he'll do it again. Picture: Mike Keating.

It’s a habit of Hinch’s which has seen him jailed, subjected to house arrest, and even go all the way to the High Court. Aside from his health battles, defying suppression orders on sex offenders is the thing he’s most famous for.

On Monday during his Melbourne radio program Hinch named a Sydney property developer, convicted of sexually assaulting his then-11-year-old daughter. She’s now in her 30s. It’s easy for this to be dismissed as Hinch at it again, except this has happened very quickly after a major Victorian review into child safety that recommended suppression orders on the names of convicted child sex offenders be scrapped.

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  • says:

    02:33pm | 26/07/12

    You made some clear points there. I looked on the internet for the subject and found most people will approve with your blog. Read more »

  • Cleiton says:

    05:38am | 20/04/12

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During the early 1900s, at a time of increasing unrest over economic, social and political inequality for women, International Women’s Day was born. Now etched in our calendars, March 8th has even become an official holiday in some countries.

Silence is damaging

The day celebrates both the achievements and the vital contribution women make in society. It’s also a recognition of the role feminism has played in exposing sexual violence and seeking solutions to combat this problem. A problem that is yet to be abated.

The release late last month of the UN Secretary-general’s report on sexual violence during conflict, named military forces, militia and other armed groups as serious offenders in a large number of countries. Sexual violence was noted to have hampered peace building in places such as Timor Leste, Sierra Leone and Bosnia and featured in civil unrest in Egypt and Syria.

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  • Helen says:

    11:11am | 14/03/12

    Huge applause to Kipling! There is some hope after all! Read more »

  • Helen says:

    11:06am | 14/03/12

    TChong, that is not true. The stats are from Australian Institute of Criminology’s Second Conference on Violence, June 1993. Read more »


We will never eradicate paedophilia or child sex abuse.

This admission is implicit in the naming of SA Police’s Operation Decimate, which is the Sexual Crime Investigation Branch’s child sex exploitation investigation.

I fervently hope they are using the term ‘decimate’ in its bastardised but generally accepted definition – to destroy a significant proportion.

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  • icon set says:

    11:34am | 05/10/12

    I regret, that I can not help you. I tink, you will find here the correct decision. Read more »

  • deb says:

    06:46am | 05/05/11

    Well said, i can remember being forced to kiss uncle,hug uncle when a child forty odd years ago.Can remember the old buggar copping a feel too.He was a nasty piece of work.My sisters told me of the same thing happening to them to. Read more »


Abused kids deserve better than spin.

Illustration: Joe Benke

As the Federal Convenor of Parliamentarians Against Child Abuse and Neglect, I applaud the Baillieu Coalition Government for making the welfare of all Victorian children a priority in 2011

The announcement last week of an inquiry into the systemic problems in Victoria’s child protection system is overdue and welcome.  Such an inquiry is much needed not only for all those who work in the child protection system but more importantly, for those who are living with abuse. 

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  • Kristy says:

    12:20am | 14/07/11

    Our system needs a complete overhaul, too many children are being neglected and abused and seriously, it is DISGUSTING!! I was a victim of child abuse and DHS were involved and they did NOTHING! There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about what I… Read more »

  • Coopers says:

    06:07pm | 15/02/11

    Referring to the question, “...some 240,607 cases were not ‘substantiated’ and it begs the question, why?”, cases are frequently settled in corridor negotiations.  Where it can’t be resolved, the matters are then booked for contests.    Unlike civil litigation, the Family Division of the Children’s Court of Victoria is not… Read more »


”…it is highly likely that every Australian either was, is related to, works with or knows someone who experienced childhood in an institution or out of home care environment.’ – Forgotten Australians, p. xv”

Forgotten Australian Claureen Pollentine is comforted by then PM Kevin Rudd a year ago. Photo: Gary Ramage.

At 8.30pm tonight SBS will screen a documentary called The Forgotten Australians, timed to air on the first anniversary of the national Apology last year by then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to the people who have become known by this term. 

Who are the Forgotten Australians – and why was the Prime Minister saying sorry? 

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  • Rudzani says:

    01:58pm | 02/06/12

    Hi Daryl and thanks for your cotmnems. I agree with you that one of the best ways to address issues of low trust is to be vulnerable. Someone has to make the first move, and approaching the situation with a humble attitude and true concern for the quality of the… Read more »

  • chris smith says:

    05:37pm | 13/12/10

    jenny bosanquet you demand an apologey from the goverment how about apologizeg to your husband who you abandond when he needed you the most if that what the clan is all about kickin your husband when he is down tryin to recover from surgery you truely are a heartless bitch… Read more »


It would be handy, as a service for lazy journalists, if a special hotline called 1800-OFFENDED could be established whereby reporters looking for an easy headline can contact a centralised pool of permanently upset lobbyists.

The new face of child abuse, apparently.

One of the reasons Australia has weathered the global financial crisis is that there is a vibrant local growth industry where hundreds of people are waiting by the phone to be professionally outraged about pretty much anything.

An old media favourite is Harold Scruby who heads up the Pedestrian Council. Harold is the world’s nicest bloke but his irrational hatred of the motor car is such that he may well have been molested by an early-model Torana when he was a boy.

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  • Reg says:

    08:17am | 11/10/10

    I am outraged that I don’t understand what any of that means. Who should I blame? Olga down there seems to see things that I don’t as well. Thank goodness we have details like 10/10/10 to bring us back to normality. Read more »

  • Chris says:

    11:25am | 10/10/10

    You write this article. Then your next article is about the outrage and offence from the fact that the eight men involved in the Brimble death dared to have a dinner eight years after? Pot, kettle? Read more »


This week is National Child Protection Week 2010 and this year NAPCAN is highlighting the stark fact that when we know 33,000 children are abused each year, child protection is everyone’s business.

Only one-third of adults would report child abuse.

And they are just the ones we know about. These statistics have no place in 21st century Australia.

What would happen if, in a single year, 33,000 Australian children became ill in an epidemic, with some children dying and many children being damaged for life? There would be a national outcry to intervene and stop it. Why isn’t there a similar outcry for children who have been abused or neglected? The abuse and neglect of children continues year after year, yet it seems no one hears these children.

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  • Chris says:

    07:35pm | 11/09/10

    Karl, “`Reported’ cases have a huge question mark over them as all agencies involved with children are now mandatorily required to report their `suspicions’ of child abuse,  which may in many cases have been made for mistaken, mischievous, and malicious reasons.” Are you referring to the false accusations that are… Read more »

  • Andrew says:

    12:15pm | 10/09/10

    Sounds like Eric has a few issues. Neglect is one issue and violence and abuse is another. Men are statistically more likely to be perpetrators of violence and abuse that is a fact. That doesn’t mean women don’t commit acts of violence and abuse it means men are the majority… Read more »


Six-year-old Naomi wants to kill herself after being repeatedly sexually abused since the age of two.

Illustration: Paul Newman, Daily Telegraph.

Her mother Debbie says the bright and bubbly toddler has become a violent and aggressive girl who wants to throw herself in front of a car to end her suffering.

Last week, I interviewed Debbie on Radio 2UE. It was harrowing. Heartbreaking. But instead of expressing sympathy, talkback callers were angry.

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  • Suzanne says:

    08:21am | 27/01/11

    The FLC ignores all the signes and puts children at risk constantly. My Child went to school and told a teacher that she hated going to her fathers because he offered his friend money to kill me and he drilled a hole in the bathroom wall to look at her… Read more »

  • Donna says:

    05:19pm | 07/08/10

    Who are these “wimmin”? and I think you’ll find a lot of it come from bad parenting in general, not just “wimmin”... Read more »


The proposal this year to remove the artistic defence from the NSW proposed legislation on child abuse, which includes child pornography and exploitation, is not particularly about censoring artists. 

The police raid on Bill Henson's photographs at the Robin Oxley 9 Gallery in Sydney in 2008.

In fact, the Australia Council for the Arts believes that the proposal, which will harmonise NSW laws with the Commonwealth laws on the definitions of child pornography, has the potential to be advantageous to genuine artistic expression. 

Mention art and pornography together, and people immediately position themselves at opposite ends of the room.

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  • A-Cup says:

    02:52pm | 31/01/10

    What’s even more preposterous is that our country’s censors - oh I’m sorry, ‘classifiers’ - are so paranoid over this issue that they have even refused classification to some adult films (and publications?) featuring small-breasted women, on the premise that they “look” like they’re underage. Read more »

  • stephen says:

    10:15pm | 30/01/10

    Your objection has nothing to do with Art. Read more »


The recent call by Dr John Irvine to consider charging parents for crimes committed by children under the age of 10 highlights a fundamental social challenge. 

Instead if detaining juvenile offenders maybe this prison should house their parents. Photo: AAP

Juvenile crime and delinquency is a growing problem within our schools and the wider community – costing millions of dollars each year.  Recent Bureau of Crime and Statistics research indicates a 44% rise in juvenile offences since 2001.

Dr Irvine thinks that the ability to charge parents for the crimes their offspring commit “would help” and therefore it’s certainly worthy of debate and discussion. It’s hard to dispute his assertion that the Labor Government is too soft when it comes to dealing with the guardians of troubled children under 10.

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  • Ana says:

    08:33am | 02/02/10

    I am a single mother. I work a middle management job and do not rely on government handouts. My daughter is, according to her teachers, one of the best behaved kids in her class and is very confident, loving and affectionate. The reason I’m a single mother? I refused to… Read more »

  • Jason says:

    09:16pm | 01/02/10

    “How can we legislate against loveless and lawless parents?” Simple, the cycle needs to stop. In my opinion the best way to achieve this is to stop wasting time on getting the parents to change, and attempt to install love and discipline in the child or children though the education… Read more »


SHY Keenan (corr) doesn’t like to call herself a victim nor does she like the term survivor. Both imply a resolution to an issue.

Australia is copping out on child protection, says Shy Keenan.

But from the age of four she was systematically raped, beaten, degraded, filmed then, at the age of 10, sold to a gang of dockworkers in the UK for four more years of abuse.

In 2000 more than 25 years after the abuse, she armed herself with a small camera lent by the BBC and filmed one of her attackers boasting about his actions. Two years later she watched in satisfaction from the back of Liverpool Crown Court as three of her attackers, including a stepfather, were handed jail terms.

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    11:07pm | 12/10/10

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A few weeks ago I had one of my worst days as a new MP. A woman came to see me in my office in Caringbah in southern Sydney and told me the appalling story of how her child was being exposed to pornography by the child’s own father.

Surrounded by sex: the home should be the safest place of all.

The child is less than five years old. I won’t go into the other details for risk of identifying the individuals involved, but rest assured it would make the most tolerant and liberal thinking of readers angry and sick.

What is worse is that as we looked to see what remedies were available to help this mum protect her child, we found there were none – and the police confirmed as much to her.

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  • bisniqxvrhd says:

    09:25am | 16/05/12

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  • LC says:

    06:46pm | 07/07/10

    First and foremost, kids live in an ADULTS world, not the other way around. Want to ban porn? Ok. But you also have to ban anything else unsuitable for children but available for adults too, like alchol, ciggies, cars, motorcycles, pest killers, weed killers, other posions, knifes, guns, any movie… Read more »


We all want our kids to be safe online. Parents can’t be expected to monitor every click and it’s understandable that we’re looking to government for help.

This is the place to fight internet predators - not your house

But Mr Rudd’s plan to assemble a government generated list of unacceptable sites then demand Internet Service Providers (ISPs) monitor each page we visit is a step in the wrong direction.

ISPs direct internet traffic much like a post office delivers mail. Requiring them to examine the contents of transmitted data is like requiring the post office to read our mail before it’s delivered.

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  • LC says:

    04:05pm | 23/06/10

    Let’s hope Tony Abbott has the same approach to the issue as you. Read more »

  • Jon says:

    04:22pm | 10/02/10

    Good Article. It’s too bad krudd and conway will likely dismiss this and continue claiming they know what the Australian people want. hopefully election comes before this is implemented. Might not be anything else to choose from but labor is sure gonna be last preference. Read more »


THERE are some stories that are so sad that they are almost impossible to read, some photographs that you cannot look at without choking up. The death of Dean Shillingsworth is such a story – the gorgeous two-year-old boy from one of the most impoverished suburbs in Sydney’s west, whose mother yesterday pleaded guilty to killing him and stuffing him into a suitcase which she threw into a duck pond.

Lake Angel: the inscription on the memorial at the pond where Dean was found dead.

The manner of Dean’s death goes beyond comprehension. You look at this kid in his Thomas the Tank Engine pyjamas and just shake your head in disbelief, and shed a tear that, maybe, he could have been one of the children who through the support of his extended family, or the attention of a dedicated public school teacher, could have found his way out of the dysfunctional mess he’d been born into.

That is obviously something that nobody will ever know.

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  • David C says:

    09:33am | 20/08/09

    I guess this is why this site is called “ThePunch” Read more »

  • Dan says:

    10:41pm | 19/08/09

    David C, considering I didn’t attack people for being ‘latte/chardonnay socialists’, I think you should look in the mirror when you say Bad day at work was it?’ Nonetheless,  my original point stands. Regardless of where you live, you have no right to call anyone a latte/chardonnay socialist. How do… Read more »


I’m an orphan. My mum committed suicide when I was seven and my dad had a heart-attack when I was 16.

Getting child protection right will never be easy. But we have to try.

Thankfully, I wasn’t living with either of them at the time. I was removed from my mother’s care at age five and my relationship with my father was estranged since before I could remember.

The very first night I spent in a foster home I was bullied.

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  • fehowarth says:

    01:04pm | 12/08/09

    We need to hear from more people who went through the system.  No story is the same.  We need to hear from those who succeeded as well failed.  Without this history we cannot plot a better future where all are winners. Read more »

  • Heléna says:

    09:50pm | 11/08/09

    thank you Lanai for your advice - it’s much appreciated Read more »


The shocking case last week of a two-year-old Victorian girl being savagely beaten has once again raised the issue of child abuse into the headlines.

It has started an important debate about when to remove children from their parents and what constitutes a child at risk.

Despite some horrifying high profile cases in recent years, child abuse is a problem that many Australians still think is limited to a certain section of the community.

While this view might make it easier for us to sleep at night, it does nothing to protect the more than 30,000 Australian children who were abused or neglected last year.

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  • Anon says:

    04:21am | 15/12/09

    Jeremy: There are scientifically proven prevention programs that reduce child abuse. Many of the times they are not available or not implemented correctly. Rick: You’re an idiot. The welfare of the community (including children) is everyone’s responsibility and not just the parents. If the parents are not coping and all… Read more »

  • Rick says:

    11:29am | 10/08/09

    The community is not responsible, the parents are! If you think society is the problem then it is time for society to take action and remove the rights of some people to have children (i.e. Sterilisation) . If you think it can’t be done then stop blaming the government for… Read more »


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