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Former Victorian police officer sentenced for historical indecent assaults against child in Ballarat

A former Victorian police officer, who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy in the 1970s, has lodged an appeal against his prison sentence. Leslie Lane pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting the boy while stationed in Ballarat in 1974 and 1975. The charges related to the victim being indecently assaulted on numerous occasions over a period of months. Magistrate Ron Saines said the offence involved a number of aggravating features including the abuse of Lane's position as a police officer in terms of his dealings with the child victim and his family. Lane was 28-years-old at the time of the offending and had apprehended the victim's older brother for riding a motorcycle without a licence. As a result, Lane offered to assist...

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When each of these children died, we swore we'd change: The Australian child victims of male domestic violence

OPINION -- Aaliyah Baxter, Laianah Baxter, Trey Baxter, Darcey Freeman, Jennifer Edwards, Jack Edwards, Jai Farquharson, Tyler Farquharson, Bailey Farquharson, Taye Cockman, Rylan Cockman, Ayre Cockman, Kaydn Cockman, Luke Batty, Koda Little, Hunter Little, River Hinder, Nyobi Hinder, Elisa and Martin Lutz. These are the names of just some of the children murdered by male family members. The oldest was 15, the youngest just two. It's hard to imagine what their final moments were like. Some of these children lived lives affected by violence before their deaths. Their mothers had fled, desperate to save their children and themselves, trying everything they could to protect them but still compelled to share custody of them with their murderers. Aaliyah Baxter, Laianah Baxter and...

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The 'heartbreaking' international child abductions tearing families apart

A partner flees back to Japan without warning taking your child. For them, it’s a strategic move. For the Australian parent left behind, it’s a never-ending nightmare. In 2007, when Daniel Wass was 31, he enrolled in a Japanese language course at Penrith’s Nepean Community College. Daniel, who lived in Warrimoo in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, worked as a sales rep for his dad’s lawn-mowing business, but had plans to start his own business helping Australian companies sell garden equipment to the Japanese. He was also caught up in a messy divorce from his wife of 10 years, with whom he had two young children. “It was fairly chaotic,” he says, sitting on the deck of his Blue...

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Australia was supposed to be a much safer place for a child. Were we really listening?

In the opening sentences of an excoriating 2013 Quarterly Essay on clerical sexual abuse, David Marr writes a brutally cold opening line. "When young Father George Pell moved his things into the presbytery in 1973, that corner of Ballarat was one of the most dangerous places in Australia for a child." These revelations and the many investigations that led to then Prime Minister Julia Gillard calling the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse were staggering: thousands of children abused, in churches, sporting and religious organisations and youth groups. We learned an awful lesson about ourselves and our history and the commission's admonition that we place the child and the welfare of the child at the centre of...

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Child Protection Inquiry: a lesson in transparency and accountability

Last week, the Legislative Assembly Inquiry into Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS) held hearings to get the community’s perspective about problems with CYPS. The Inquiry invited a range of organisations and advocates to share their experiences and views regarding some of the problems with the current system, including the Human Rights Commission, ACT Council of Social Service, ACT Legal Aid and other advocacy organisations. This is an important Inquiry. It is considering issues that impact people’s lives. It’s examining how we manage some of the most challenging decisions that a community makes, like what to do when it may not be best for a child or young person to stay with their family. This Inquiry was sparked by a court case...

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