March 14 2018

Minister won’t guarantee children not in care of paedophiles

The Minister for Child Protection has all but admitted children living in Roebourne are living with paedophiles or people charged with child sex offences.

Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Nick Goiran said the failure of the Minister to clearly state in Parliament that no children in Roebourne were living with a convicted child sex offender, or any person charged with a child sex offence, suggested she had something to hide.

"When asked if the Minister could confirm that none of the 184 child victims of sex abuse were currently residing with a person either charged or convicted with one or more child sex offences, we expected a one word answer: Yes," Mr Goiran said.

"Instead of assuring Parliament that all 184 children were in protection and not in the vicinity of any convicted sex offender, or someone charged with a child sex offence, the Minister provided a lot of words without confirming the children were safe.

"There is no excuse for allowing children who are victims of child sex offences to be staying with an adult who is a sex offender or charged with child sex offences. The Minister’s failure to confirm their safety is most disturbing."

Mr Goiran asked the Minister if she could confirm "that none of the 184 victims are currently residing with a person either charged or convicted with one or more child sex offences?"

The Minister’s response during Legislative Council Question Time was:

The minister is satisfied that the Department of Communities continues to undertake the necessary actions to appropriately protect and support children and families in Roebourne. This is a complex situation and involves detailed and ongoing assessments. As information is received, the Department of Communities will always assess it to make determinations on the appropriate action that needs to be undertaken. Should a circumstance arise in which there were concerns about a child or children living with a particular individual or individuals, action will be taken to assess the safety of children in these circumstances and appropriate protective action will be taken.

"I don’t care about the satisfaction levels of the Minister," Mr Goiran said.

"I want an assurance the 184 victims are not living with child sex offenders or people with child sex offences pending. Anything less is unsatisfactory.

"The Minister’s failure to provide that assurance, and to simply offer 101 wishy washy words, leaves me with little confidence in this Minister to put the children first.

"If it is known those victims are living with child sex offenders, or people with child sex offences pending, those children need to be taken out of harms way and into a safe haven. If the Minister knows children are living in those circumstances, she needs to intervene. Her apparent failure to do so is extremely concerning.

"When it comes to the protection of children, the Minister cannot be blasé or gild the lily. She needs to be factual and she needs to put children first.

"Her failure to show that the victims of child sex offences are not at risk requires a more definitive statement. She needs to immediately provide that assurance, and if she can’t, the Premier needs to ascertain the facts and provide this information to the public."

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