PM Archive - Friday, 3 November , 2000 00:00:00
Reporter: ian townsend
COMPERE: In the wake of a series of child sexcases in Queensland, the state's Crime Commission this afternoonreleased a report recommending ways to stop the abuse.
Thecommission's Project Axis report has 24 recommendations to crack downon child sexual abuse including a watchdog for churches and privateschools.
Ian Townsend reports.
IAN TOWNSEND: The questionbeing asked in Queensland this week is how Bill D'Arcy, a teacher whosexually abused some of his students and went on to become apolitician, got away with the crime for 35 years.
The ProjectAxis report, published this afternoon, is trying to get everyinstitution in Queensland to adopt similar guidelines for reportingchild sexual abuse.
Queensland Crime Commissioner, Tim Carmody.
TIMCARMODY: With the churches I think - and I think the churches wouldconcede - that in recent times there's been a lack of public confidencein the way that they've dealt with complaints or suspicions of childsexual abuse. And it would be helpful, perhaps, if we knew preciselyhow things were being dealt with in that sector and that externalaccountability mechanism - they'd be one of the ways where the churchescan protect itself against suspicions that things are being done insecret and kept in-house.
What we're saying is we need as acommunity to work out what the framework should be, what the policyshould be, and we should all - across sectors, no matter what schoolyou go to - a child should have the same expectations, the sameprotections. It shouldn't matter . it shouldn't be limited to theindividual policies of individual schools. There should be across thesector policies and guidelines that everybody follows.
IANTOWNSEND: The report also wants the government to come up with betterways to treat and keep tabs on sex offenders, but many of therecommendations put the onus on the Queensland's Children'sCommissioner to come up with policies that churches, private schoolsand other institutions can adopt to stop sexual abuse.
The D'Arcy trial in Brisbane this week raised the question of why child sex cases take so long to be reported.
Children's Commissioner, Robyn Sullivan.
ROBYNSULLIVAN: I would hope that after 30 years we've moved on to a moresupportive and caring community, but we won't know that for some timebecause of the number of unreported incidents. So that's why I thinkthis whole suite of recommendations needs to be taken as a whole ratherthan pulling out one recommendation or another.
But certainly Iwouldn't like to think that 30 years down the track we discover a largenumber of children who've felt inhibited in any way about telling theirfamilies or people such as teachers about their experiences.
COMPERE: Queensland Children's Commissioner Robyn Sullivan, with Ian Townsend.