Children Deserve Higher Priority

Submitted by Legislation Lisa on Wed, 01/08/2007 - 14:18

Jann Stuckey MP, Shadow Minister for Child Safety has today called for Child Affected Hearings to be given priority and for delays to be avoided.

“It is becoming obvious the child protection system is not adequately supporting children who have already suffered extreme trauma at the hands of abusers.
“I have recently had complaints to my office about children who were sexually abused being strung along and having to wait out unnecessary delays before their hearing.

“This situation is inexcusable. These traumatised children need to be able to progress through their stages of counselling but are restricted from doing so until they go to court.
“For legal practitioners to delay court proceedings to the benefit of alleged pedophiles and child abusers is abhorrent and I commend Judge Helen O’Sullivan on behalf of child victims for her recent stand against these avoidable delays.

“The Department of Child Safety and the Police do as much as they can to bring offenders before the courts, and it is important for the justice system to recognise the emotional impacts delays can have on child victims.
“Of further concern is, that until Child Affected Hearings are completed, offenders can be walking around in our community preying on other innocent children.
“There are clearly deficiencies in the processes of handling certain cases, which has led to the detriment of the psychological recovery of abused children.
“Putting a child in front of the court is traumatic enough, but to go through additional distress caused by unacceptable postponements of hearings severely compounds the psychological impact incurred.
“There must, as a matter of urgency, be more careful consideration of the impact on children of having to recount circumstances of abuse” concluded Ms Stuckey.

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