OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Only part of proven abuse cases are taken to court

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – “Child abuse is the greatest health crisis this country has to face,” says “Youth Off The Streets” coordinator Father Chris Riley who works with people who have been abused. A recent article was published on his work by “The Catholic Weekly” of Sydney. “We simply offload all responsibility to statutory bodies,” he said. Statutory bodies are under siege and young case workers burn out within an average of seven months. Riley says: “Politicians do not take it seriously, the community generally doesn’t want to hear about sexual abuse and the victim does not necessarily show any outward signs of being sexually as­saulted...But anyone who has been sexually assaulted en­dures a lifetime of psychological and emotional distress; they often become drug users to kill the pain of abuse, attempt suicide, self mutilate and have major trust issues.” Unfortunately, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that abuse victims face so much added trauma in giving evidence in the Victorian Children’s Court that most cases aren’t proceeding. There, in Victoria, only 453 cases of sexual abuse were substantiated by protection authorities out of the 6,344 proven cases of child abuse. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 11/10/2010)