Shocking rates of sexual abuse in south Australias tribal lands

May 6th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, May 6 (ANI): Young children are suffering widespread and traumatic sexual abuse in Australia’s oldest self-governing Aboriginal tribal lands, according to an inquiry.

However, fear of retribution is preventing prosecutions and treatment for the children, said the inquiry’s head, former Supreme Court judge Ted Mullighan.

Mullighan said conditions on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in far north South Australia were similar to those of a third world country, reports the Australian.

In his report examining the sexual abuse of children on the APY lands, tabled in State Parliament today, Mullighan said: “In communities on the Lands, where petrol-sniffing has destroyed a generation, and alcohol and drug abuse is prevalent, parents do not know how to care for and protect their children or have become unable to do so.

“These children are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Mullighan, who last month released his report into the sexual abuse of children in state care, heard 269 allegations of child sexual abuse on the APY lands involving 141 children - 113 girls and 28 boys.

Mullighan said that many girls had been raped, beaten with sticks or who had regularly sold sex for petrol, alcohol, drugs or money for gambling.

Sexual behaviour was normalised in very young children, he said.

One of the men who gave evidence to the inquiry told Mullighan that there was a “deteriorating social fabric on the lands and it was the “law of the jungle here.

Mullighan made 46 recommendations, urging empowerment strategies such as education, child protection and more police.

He also suggested that meetings with men and boys in communities be held immediately regarding sexual conduct of the men involving children and the consequences of such conduct.

He also recommended that every positive test result for sexually transmitted infections in children on the land be notified to the Department of Health and Families SA, and that Families SA then assess if there was a case of sex abuse.

Premier Mike Rann said the government was moving to immediately add five more child protection officers and eight police to the lands in the wake of the “harrowing” and “sickening” report.

He said the Government would also investigate ways to restrict pornography. (ANI)

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