‘Children the main perpetrators of sex abuse in out-of-home care, royal commission told’
That’s the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald (10 March 2015, here); but what’s the substance of the story?
According to the story: ‘The vast majority of child sexual abuse occurring in Australian foster homes and residential care facilities is perpetrated by other children, not the adults looking after them, the royal commission has heard.’
And the evidence for this remarkable claim?
Well, it’s not too clear. The very next sentence of the report says: ‘But the task of addressing this and other types of abuse in out-of-home care has been plagued by a lack of data about how much abuse is occurring and how institutions are responding.’
The Commission was also told that the analysis was ‘seriously hindered by a lack of reliable, comparable data and statistics, with NSW and Victoria having failed to record abuse statistics almost completely’.
Ms Furness said the commission had obtained its own statistics from government departments in every state and territory and 13 non-government organisations.
So Victoria and NSW, the two most populous States failed to record data but the Royal Commission gained its data from them? Perplexing? These are the very State departments who are responsible for running the system directly in their own Homes and indirectly through paid outsourcing of child placements through churches and charities.
Pardon my skepticism, but this sounds like a classic blaming the victim strategy. If you’re running the show, what better way of deflecting responsibility for ‘the vast majority of child sexual abuse occurring in Australian foster homes and residential care facilities’? Well of course, blame other children, not the adults looking after them.
But, hang on a minute. After all, who selected and appointed the adults? Who was responsible for the way they carried out their duties?
Even if the statistics – such as they are – are accurate, when children were allegedly abusing other children in the institutions, where were the adult ‘carers’ ? Having a cuppa? A good lie down?
I don’t buy it – and I hope the Royal Commission doesn’t either.