Sunday, 31 December 2017

Falls Festival Marion Bay Tasmanian south east

The Falls Festival at Marian Bay had sexual assaults this year and the Police had promised a stronger presence at the Festival, particularly in the mosh pit, to discourage repeat occurrences.  However, it appears that there have been two reported sexual assaults this week. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Harvey Weinstein, Don Burke and many others

It is amazing that the many men who are being called to account for sexual assault and sexual harassment have been behaving in this way for many years.  In some cases for decades.  Women have been telling people about this behaviour for decades and it has been brushed aside.  Now they are being listened to.  It would be nice to think that the world is changing dramatically. But I suspect that many of these men are not as powerful as they were.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Redress and compensation schemes

The Federal Government's new redress scheme for victims of childhood sexual abuse will award a maximum of $150 000 compensation which is $50 000 less than the amount proposed as a cap by the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  It is suggested that only a small percentage of the 60 000 adults abused as children will receive the highest amount. Victims who have later offended and been in jail for sex offences, and other serious crimes, will not be eligible for compensation.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Hand Off Campaign

The Hands Off Campaign is a good idea.  It is a collaboration between Crime Stoppers and Victoria Police to try and deal with people who grope women, sexually assault women or generally harass them on public transport.  Whilst many of the incidents may be at the lower end of criminal offences for many women being touched inappropriately in public can be devastating.  I makes them feel unsafe in public spaces such as transport where they should be able to move freely without any threat.  Crime Stopppers have posted images of alleged offenders on their Facebook and are asking people to contact them if they have any information related to the images.  Any campaign that makes public areas safer for women and makes it clear that sexual offences and sexual harassment will not be tolerated is a good idea.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski

With the sacking of Harvey Weinstein by his own company The Weinstein Company for sexual harrassment and sexual assault of a number of women over many years it looks as though Hollywood is starting to face up to a problem they have had for many years.  The rich and powerful in charge of the studios are mostly male and some of them are clearly predatory.  Hollywood is not alone in having institutions that support abusive men as we have seen over the past few years with the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Adass School Principal

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant has made his views on victims of childhood sexual assault quite clear over a period of time and in his interactions with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.  To appoint him head of the Adass School given their already vexed situation in relation to Malka Leifer who the Board of Adass flew to Israel after she was accused of abusing students is an insult to Ms Leifer's victims and victims everywhere. He is clearly a man who has no consideration for child abuse victims.

Sunday, 2 July 2017


I understand that many people find Uber a very convenient, cheap option for transport but I feel very uneasy about the concept that there are no cameras and no over arching body that you can talk to if there is a sexual assault.  I know you can report to the Police but many people do not want to report to the Police and Uber takes no responsibility for their contractors.

However that is a minor issue compared to the one reported in The Age Saturday 1.7.17 where a man posed as a ride share driver and picked up a woman he later raped. Uber's spokesperson stated that you should only get into a car for which the Uber app shows the make, model and number plate. However, this assumes that everyone is concentrating all the time, have not had a few drinks or are not vulnerable.  At least with taxis you know they are taxis.  I still do not like the idea of unidentified cars being able to pick people up.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Underage Marriage

The Melbourne imam who officiated at a marriage of a 14 year old girl and a man 20 years older than her has not gone to to jail. He was released on a two year recognisance release order. The maximum penalty for this crime is 6 months jail time.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Travel bans on child sex offenders

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will be given powers to stop convicted child sex offenders from travelling overseas. There are approximately 20 000 convicted child sex offenders in Australia and they have been free to travel overseas and offend in poor countries where children are often more easily accessed. This is a check on child sex tourism and is a move that should be applauded.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Malaysia Child Marriage

I never cease to be amazed at the rationalisations used by men to justify having sex with female children.  Malaysia has passed legislation that criminalises touching and befriending children as a precursor to sexually abusing them.  However, this law does not out law child marriage.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Nagaland Women

The men in Nagaland in India's far north-east have won the right to operate outside a Supreme Court ruling that 33 percent of seats in elected bodies are kept exclusively for women candidates. This is not because they believe the quota system does not work which might be a discussion in the West but that women's place is in the kitchen and not in public life.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Melbourne Response

The Melbourne Response, although intended to provide assistance and support victims of abuse by Catholic Church personnel, has always been a cause of distress for a large number of victims. The cause of distress has been the signing away of legal rights if accessing compensation.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Roman Polanski

In 1977 Roman Polanski raped a 13 year old girl at film star Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles. He was accused of drugging the girl before raping her.  Mr Polanski fled to France in 1978 when he apparently thought he was going to be given a long sentence for the crime.  He is now seeking permission to return to the United States with an agreement that he will not be jailed for this crime. The claim put forward is that he reached a plea deal before he escaped to Europe and that he has already served 42 days for statutory rape in Chino State Prison.

Catholic Church pays out $276 million in compensation for sexual abuse of children

The Royal Commission heard recently that the number of claims for compensation against the Catholic Church  has risen to 4445 with 2854 resulting in compensation being paid.  A number of cases are still proceeding.  The concern with these figures, which are in themselves unacceptably high, is that we know from Australian Bureau of Statistics data that only 1 in 10 people report sexual assault.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Rapist's sentence tripled by Court of Appeal

It is reassuring that the Court of Appeal has a grasp of the consequences of intra-familial sexual assaults. The stepfather who sexually assaulted his 11 year old step daughter four times was originally given a 720 days sentence and put on a three-year community corrections order.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Tim Worner

It is hard to understand in this climate how a CEO of a company like Seven can have an affair with a worker, have questions asked about his use of a corporate credit and drug usage and be found to be suitable to remain in his job.  Even if the Seven West board accepts that there was no proof that Worner misused his credit card or used drugs he has admitted to having an affair with a female junior staff member.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Keith Slater - Former Bishop of Grafton

Bishop Keith Slater was defrocked in 2015 for his mishandling of child abuse allegations. He had failed to follow church protocol in handling  historical abuse claims at a children's home in Lismore. He was accused of keeping Newcastle priest Allan Kitchingman in the clergy despite his being convicted of child sexual assault.  Mr Slater was also found guilty of having reported abuse allegations to the police in 2011.  Even though he admitted the majority of the allegations against him, he appealed against his defrocking to the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia.The Tribunal found that as Mr Slater had already resigned as Bishop the body that investigated his behaviour did not have the authority to recommend his defrocking.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting

Neither forced marriage or female genital mutilation is acceptable in Australia.  The approach for several years has been education and this is important. It is however equally important that we support young women who endure these practices.  A few gaol sentences will make it clear that these practices will not be tolerated. The Imam who married the under age young woman has been sacked by his Mosque and the Islamic Council of Victoria has released a statement condemning forced marriage.The 34 year old man who married the young woman is in gaol charged with penetration of an under 16 year old.  Charges should be brought against the Imam.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Forced and Under Age Marriage

The legislation criminalising forced marriage came into effect in 2013.  No one has been convicted of this offence even though the number of allegations of forced marriage has increased from 11 in 2013-14 to 65 2015-16.

It is essential that there is an extensive education campaign, including when people are thinking of coming to Australia, making it clear that this is illegal in this country and will not be tolerated. However, jail sentences for penetration of a child under 16 years and also for assisting in the penetration of a child under 16 years will make it extremely transparent that this is not to be tolerated.  Also naming these people for what they are, paedophiles, would make it clearer that a firm stance will be taken on this issue.

Music Festivals and Duty of Care

There has been a lot of publicity about music festivals and injured patrons in the past couple of weeks. Another issue that arises in mosh pits and at festivals generally is women being groped or raped. Last year the Rainbow Festival had their staff trained in how to deal with disclosures of sexual assault and where to refer people.  The Seven Sisters Festival later this year has given SECASA a space where they can offer counselling to any women who are triggered to remember past assaults by the Festival activities.