February 20, 2018

Minister must ensure the safety of abused children in Roebourne

The Liberal Opposition has called on the State Government to ensure no victims of child sex abuse in the Pilbara town of Roebourne are in the care of convicted paedophiles or individuals charged with child sex offences.

Shadow Child Protection Minister Nick Goiran said two Ministers in the McGowan Government had refused to confirm that none of the 184 victims of child sexual abuse identified last year as a result of police operation Feldermaus were still living with convicted offenders or men charged with child sex offences.

Last year, 36 men were charged with 300 child sex offences as a result of Operation Feldermaus.

“I asked both Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk and Police Minister Michelle Roberts in November if any victims were in the care of offenders or charged individuals and neither could rule it out,” Mr Goiran said.

“Minister Roberts said she couldn’t say because the investigation was ongoing and Minister McGurk said she could not release detailed information that could lead to identification of victims.

“Neither of these answers is a valid reason for not coming straight out and saying none of these vulnerable children have been left in the care of a child sex offender; no further information or details required.

“In the absence of a simple no, it can only be assumed that the information that is coming through to me is correct and there are children being left in the completely untenable situation of living with their abuser or accused abuser.”

Mr Goiran said he supported moves announced by Minister McGurk this week to work with Aboriginal elders and community members in Roebourne to address entrenched and intergenerational disadvantage in Roebourne.

“The measures announced by Minister McGurk this week are, in the main, long-term initiatives to build on existing work, the most immediate concern of the Minister should be to ensure no child in Roebourne is living with their abuser or someone charged with abusing them,” Mr Goiran said.

“I am not convinced that this is the case and I call on the Minister to come clean and either say categorically it is not the case or do something about it and report back to Parliament when she has.”

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