More anxiety for abused victims
The Advertiser. Adelaide, S. Aust.:Sep 1, 2007. p. 79
THE editorial on the disastrous conclusion of the Mountford Case (The
Advertiser, 30/8/07) omitted to mention two important issues.
First, the delay between reporting child sex abuse and cases reaching trial in
this state is said to be up to three years, which is totally unacceptable,
given that delay further impedes the recovery of the victim.
Second, it is also unacceptable that lawyers are still allowed to engage in
character assassination and claims that victims' evidence is not credible based
on the fact that they suffered mental illness and took drugs at some point in
If the Attorney-General and judiciary read the relevant scientific research
they would know that, far from discrediting the witness, a history of mental
illness and drug abuse is more likely to confirm that she/he was abused.
Eminent Melbourne University psychiatrist Bill Glaser shows that victims are 16
times more likely than others to experience post- traumatic-stress disorder,
long-term psychiatric problems and suicide.
ASCA (the national support service for abuse survivors) reports that parents
are now being warned not to report child-sex offenders to police because of the
risk that their children will be further abused by the legal system.
The long-term health problems described by Glaser will only increase.
* (Prof) FREDA BRIGGS,
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