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.