Friday, June 3, 2011

Derryn Hinch: Doing Time For Their Crime

Outspoken, veteran journalist Derryn Hinch is facing a jail term for a crime that should never exist. He named two child sex offenders.
Derryn Hinch is no saint and I am sure over that fifty year period there are some things that even he himself regrets saying or maybe feels differently with age. One thing, he and many other brave journalists will never regret is exercising freedom of speech, especially if it means saving a future victim of child abuse. The wide coverage of articles on Derryn Hinch's case is mostly appeasing to the status quo. As though we need to protect perpetrators more than we do for children. There is something deeply disturbing about our judicial system, if a sex offender can be jailed for less than a year in Australia, but naming them can cause up to four years of imprisonment for exercising freedom of speech.

There have been numerous reports on the failure of the system in protecting children in and out of care. Where children are saved from abuse only to end up into another abusive situation, simply because child protection did not screen the parents properly. It was only a few years ago that some states in Australia introduced a system where people working with children are screened properly for prior offences. Those abused before its introduction would have had to endure this in silence. Laws in both child protection and Family Court are designed so that children's cases like these, even after deaths are restrained from speaking out to the media.

There is a good reason to be protective of children and how the impact of the media can be destructive, but I would argue that an act of abuse by another does not damage the child's reputation. Its the stigma and shame others chose to place upon victims that is damaging. Where the media is selective in portraying one angle of what the victim conveys that degrades them is what poses a difficult question on children and the media. It does not mean children should not have access to the media at all, but there should be strict guidelines on how they are portrayed and their rights to remove it if they wish. The media is and will always be a double edged sword. We need the media for transparency, especially where vulnerable members of our society are abused under the veil of secrecy. We need to protect children from sex offenders as we know that they are likely to do it again.

Its not a normal crime, treating it so, only provides more loopholes these perpetrators can jump through. But the least we need right now is to know who these perpetrators are so that we can protect our children. In many other countries, parents are at least given that right. The right to know and prevent these abuses from occurring again. The right to be outraged when one is placed near a school or a daycare centre. The right to protect our children, our future is one that is universally agreed:

The fact not only is a man dying of liver cancer going to jail, but the fact that he is going to jail for doing something that is legal in many other countries and considered by most as a favour to the Australian community. The media has successfully smeared this act as though he is wrong for doing so. Yet it is bizarre that such a question is not being actively challenged.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NewsMaker - Men's Groups Attack Victims Protections

Page Views: 57
  • Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Give this press release a star rating...

The ongoing challenge for advocates against violence towards women and children at every step has been from men's groups with the recurring rhetoric that women and children make false claims, that they somehow do not deserve these protections. Within the past year, there has been numerous reports validating the necessity of protecting victims post separation.

In particular, Dr Michael Flood has written extensively on the issue about these groups. He states
, 'In large part due to publicity efforts by fathers' rights groups, an uncritical assumption that children's contact with both parents is necessary now pervades the courts and the media. In Australia, the Family Court's new principle of the "right to contact" is overriding its principle of the right to "safety from violence." In short, family law increasingly is being guided by two mistaken beliefs: that contact with both parents is in children's best interests in every case, and that a violent father is better than no father at all."

The influence of community attitudes survey revealed that the wider community believed women routinely make false allegations in custody cases, yet we have seen some horrific deaths as a result. A great deal of research has gone into studies on allegations in custody cases and a majority of these studies point to false allegations being a very small factor. It is far more rational to err on the side of protecting victims of family violence, than to err on the side of the perpetrator. The reason why this has become both a child protection and women's issue is because these two groups are the ones most adversely affected across the board in many empirical studies. Its an issue that can no longer be ignored.

One has to ask why these groups are fighting basic protections that is written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Like Climate change deniers, these groups continue to distort the pervasive issue of violence against women and children by using selective figures that support their rhetoric. Yet, Violence against women has been recognised globally affecting women across classes, cultures and races. Its rare to find research that supports otherwise and usually research supporting that is often linked to organisations advocating for these groups.

Family violence is a problem in our community that no government should condone and without the implementation of these laws. Forcing children to endure these situation by court order is not only condoning the violence, but becoming every perpetrators accomplice. For every victim enduring these circumstances, the experience is horrific.
When government engages in this form of systematic abuse, it is violating every victims human rights in many ways.

If all of the homicide victims of family violence were in one location, the figures would be beyond 9/11 and it would supersede as the greatest act of terrorism ever recorded. Family violence is also a silent genocide against women and children that is not raised as an issue enough, that is why it is crucial that these laws are not derailed by groups with a selfish agenda.

About Australian Shared Parenting Law Debate
The shared parenting debate examines issues affecting Australians within the family law system.

Melanie Smith
Ph: 0469622409