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 Post subject: A disturbing finding...
PostPosted: 15.06.2007, 16:20 
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Aborigine child sex abuse 'rife'

A high-profile inquiry into child sex abuse in remote northern Australia says it found cases in every Aborigine community researchers visited.

The report, commissioned by the Northern Territory government, also found a "disturbing" trend in child-on-child abuse.

Investigators said high levels of alcohol and poverty were to blame.

Australia's Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough described the findings as a "national disgrace".

"It's a disaster and it's something that should never happen in this country," he said.

The Northern Territory's government - which commissioned the inquiry after allegations of similar cases were reported in the media last year - said it would begin implementing some of the report's 97 recommendations.

'Landmark report'

The report's authors said they had found incidents of child sex abuse in each of the 45 communities they visited as part of their inquiry.

One alarming finding was that young children were being exposed to pornography and imitating the sexual behaviour among themselves, they said.


A river of grog is killing people and destroying our communities
Pat Anderson
Report co-author

The 316-report report found that children were being abused by both indigenous and non-indigenous adults.

Children as young as five were found to have contracted sexually-transmitted diseases.

Girls were being prostituted for drugs - including for petrol, a substance reported to be commonly sniffed by youths in Aboriginal communities.

Co-author of the report, Pat Anderson, a well-known Aboriginal health specialist, said there was a strong link between the abuse and the alcoholism that is rife in many indigenous communities.

"Spiritually, socially, psychologically, there is a total breakdown in families where people are drunk most of the time - the children are not safe."

Northern Territory's Chief Minister Clare Martin described the report as a "landmark", and said it would "sadly expose the great pain and unhappiness of many people".

"It is clear that not enough has been done to tackle the abuse of Aboriginal children," she said, adding that the government would begin implementing the report's key areas of action.

The recommendations include improving education services, appointing a children's commissioner, greater co-operation with the police and awareness-raising campaigns on issues such as pornography, alcohol and gambling.


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PostPosted: 15.06.2007, 22:57 
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Jason
this is from the SMH, eh? You're right this is disturbing.

Dan


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PostPosted: 15.06.2007, 23:09 
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More on this sad topic here, a book that is discussed a lot and controversially in Australia at the moment.

Image
http://www.plutoaustralia.com/p1/default.asp?pageId=378 (thanks again, Xavier), but read as well http://uninews.unimelb.edu.au/unarticleid_4211.html and others for a balanced view on the whole thing.


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PostPosted: 16.06.2007, 19:02 
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I wonder what the reality of the numbers is in comparison with white communities? The report says it found incidents of sexual abuse in each community it visited, but I would imagine the same could be said for white communities as well. I am not saying its not a problem, but I wonder if its really more of a problem than in other communities.

This may be a somewhat controversial thing to say, but it my experience, white Australians are a pretty racist group. Although there are differences in language use, I heard a lot of disparaging remarks made about non-whites of various varieties. Chink, wog (Greeks I guess?) nigger, black bastard, and Lebo were a few I heard when I was in Australia. Sometimes from relatively liberal people who I wouldn't have expected it from.

I got a general feeling that indigenous Australias were looked upon as low class and not to be trusted. Strangely, while I was there, I recall looking at a small town's newspaper in NSW. The cover story was a case of child abuse by a alcoholic aboriginal man in Broome. I wondered why an incident of child abuse from the other side of the country made the front page of this small town paper. The story seemed to have a really heavy bent against aboriginal communities.

Not say abuse isn't a problem, or even that indigenous communities have more of a problem with it than elsewhere, but my experience of Australia leaves me wondering how much of it is racially motivated.


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PostPosted: 17.06.2007, 00:59 
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Quote:
I wonder what the reality of the numbers is in comparison with white communities?


I also wonder about numbers/statistics, and the possibility of media and investigators overemphasizing the problem in Aboriginal communities as compared with any other social group.


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 10:22 
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I think this is inevitably a mine field for research

What are these stats based on for one? What do you do knock on doors and ask are the residents abusing children?

And as has been said what is the incidence of abuse in other communities in Australia?

As a paralel in the UK there seems to be an underlying attitude that the world is a far more dangerous place for children in terms of abuse and abduction from strangers

Reality is theres little or no hard evidence evidence to suggest that this is the case

Whilst this is indeed shocking I do wonder how these stats have been calculated


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 10:25 
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Have you seen Brasseye, Paul?


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 10:33 
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Quote:
Have you seen Brasseye


I certainly did!!

I'd like to think I'm pretty broad minded when it comes to satirical send-up.

The brass eye program in question whilst raising some serious issues for me went way too far and I'm suprised C4 screened it

I think us brits have a healthy tradition of finding humour in sometimes inapropriate issues, but I don't think I'd have seen the value in brass eye if I'd been the victim of childhood abuse

Brass Eye did some fantastic stuff though :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 10:50 
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Paul wrote:
Quote:
Have you seen Brasseye

I think us brits have a healthy tradition of finding humour in sometimes inapropriate issues, but I don't think I'd have seen the value in brass eye if I'd been the victim of childhood abuse

Brass Eye did some fantastic stuff though :lol: :lol: :lol:


Yup, fair enough.


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 13:51 
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If anything, this report (and others like it) will likely be used as ammunition for politicians who will try to resurrect paternalism. Quite disturbing.

I do agree that there is a glaring research bias implicit in these findings, and it does raise a question about just how this data was in fact collected.


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 15:04 
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pacdidj wrote:
I also wonder about numbers/statistics, and the possibility of media and investigators overemphasizing the problem in Aboriginal communities as compared with any other social group.

Hi there

here's an older study that partly answers that question: http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/sheets/rs10.html

I agree that studies like this can be used to encourage paternalism, on the other hand, to simply negate, play down or excuse existing serious issues by "cultural differences" because it doesn't fit into our preconception doesn't help either. It's probably as equally simple to fall into "noble sauvage" patterns of thinking about this as it is to find confirmation of racial prejudices. The people that I've met on my (short) trips to Australian Indigenous communities who work and live there are certainly not racially motivated but are not shy of stating that there are some serious issues around that need attention. Now, as I've mentioned already, my own experience is VERY limited and that's hardly more than a first impression, so...and we could of course speculate endlessly about WHY many Aboriginal communities seem to face increasing problems, I'm just saying that suggesting that there are none or the existing ones are overemphasized falls a bit short of the whole thing as well. Real acceptance and respect between groups should be able to stand the addressing of unpleasant issues in my book.


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 15:23 
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Quote:
I agree that studies like this can be used to encourage paternalism, on the other hand, to simply negate, play down or excuse existing serious issues by "cultural differences" because it doesn't fit into our preconception doesn't help either.


I couldn't agree with you enough, Christian! We certainly must acknowledge cultural differences that exist between peoples, but any real change to be realized has to move beyond this axiom. Speaking for myself, noting differences and variety in cultural practices and expression was a catalyzing force in a deeper exploration of the source cultures that birthed those practices. And that's most certainly a good thing!


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 15:54 
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[/quote]I agree that studies like this can be used to encourage paternalism, on the other hand, to simply negate, play down or excuse existing serious issues by "cultural differences" because it doesn't fit into our preconception doesn't help either[quote]

I don't think anyone here is trying to do this Chrisitian

I believe child abuse goes on in all societys and is abhorant in all its forms

What I do question is these stats on an activity that is utterly taboo, I'm questioning the realibility of the stats.
Thats not to say by any stretch I'm negating serious issues or even suggesting the issue is not as bad or worse than this reports states

What are the stats of incidence of child abuse in are own societys? I suspect there is great variation in the stats


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PostPosted: 18.06.2007, 16:29 
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Quote:
What I do question is these stats on an activity that is utterly taboo, I'm questioning the realibility of the stats.


You do bring up an interesting point, Paul. Certainly, the distasteful nature of sexual violence on children has the potential to skew results- but I'd bring up the infamous Kinsey report on sexual behavior in the 1950s as a foil to that.

Kinsey tried to understand human sexual behavior on a variety of levels- and the surveys that he gave was eye-opening to the establishment of the 1950s in the US because it revealed that people were engaging in 'deviant' sexual behavior and challenged conventionally held beliefs about human sexuality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kinsey_Report


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PostPosted: 21.06.2007, 08:08 
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Latest developments: Quite a bit of paternalism this time, I agree...

Indigenous child abuse 'emergency' prompts PM action

The Federal Government has announced a response to the report into sexual abuse of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory, including widespread bans on alcohol sales on Indigenous land for six months.

Prime Minister John Howard says the Federal Government is not happy with the NT Government's response to the issue.

He says the widespread child abuse in Territory communities, as outlined in a recent report, is a national emergency.

All Indigenous children in the Territory are to undergo a medical check.

"We will provide the resources and we will be appealing directly to the Australian Medical Association to assist," he said.

"We will bear the cost of medical examinations of all Indigenous children in the Northern Territory under the age of 16."

The Commonwealth is to link welfare to school attendance, and 50 per cent of welfare to parents of children in the affected areas will be quarantined for food and other essentials.

The Federal Government will take over the running of townships using five-year leases.

There will be a special session of Parliament if needed to amend land rights legislation and self-government legislation.

"The Commonwealth Government will take control of townships through five-year leases to ensure that property and public housing can be improved and if that involves the payment of compensation on just terms as required by the Commonwealth constitution, then that compensation will be readily paid," he said.

"We will require intensive on-ground clean-up."

Mr Howard says the changes are a dramatic and significant Commonwealth intervention.

"We're doing this because we do not think the Territory has responded to the crisis affecting the children in the Territory," he said.

Mr Howard says he will also scrap the permit system for entry to Aboriginal land.

There will also be a ban on x-rated pornography in the affected areas, and an increased policing presence.

At a meeting next Thursday, the Government will move to refer the issue to the Australian Crime Commission, in order to bring about prosecutions of those responsible for abuse.


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