On Monday I ran here a guest blog post by Caroline S. Taylor, Foundation Chair in Social Justice and Head of the Social Justice Research Centre at Edith Cowan University, on the case of the 12-year-old Tasmanian girl forced into prostitution by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, while in the care of community protection workers. The girl was used by at least 120 men over two months.
ABC’s PM program covered the issue last night. A review of Tasmania’s child sex laws will be carried out by a group of independent lawyers. They will examine whether ‘mistaking’ the age of a girl is a reasonable excuse. However unfortunately it appears the review won’t be retropective, if it finds this is not a reasonable excuse. It is at this point the reporter, Felicity Ogilvie asks: “What about the human rights of this girl? Is it right that those men who had sex with her won’t be charged because of the way the Tasmanian Criminal Code is at the moment?” Great question. Listen here:
Here’s the transcript:
MARK COLVIN: There’s been heated debate in the Tasmanian Parliament about the case of the 12-year-old ward of the state who was sold for sex.
The Opposition is calling for a Royal Commission-style inquiry. The Government is rejecting that call but it will review the state’s child sex laws.
An independent group of lawyers will determine whether Tasmania’s laws about consent and mistaking the age of children should be changed.
The review has been sparked by the fact that the men who had sex with the girl will not be charged. But the lawyer who’s heading the review says even if the laws were to change those men would not be prosecuted.
And a warning – Felicity Ogilvie’s report from Hobart contains details which you may find disturbing.
FELICITY OGILVIE: The Opposition leader Will Hodgman started Question Time by calling for a commission of inquiry into child protection services in Tasmania.
Mr Hodgman also asked why the Children’s Minister still has a job when she’d admitted key agencies failed a 12-year-old girl who was sold for sex.
WILL HODGMAN: If you won’t sack a minister who has admitted that your Government’s system has failed, allowing a 12-year-old girl in state care to be repeatedly prostituted, at what point will you and your ministers accept responsibility for the failures of your Government? Read more.