Child Abuse

Suppression orders are meant to protect the innocent, yet all too often they end up hiding the perpetrator

Suppression Orders – those who have been following FACAA for a while will recall that we have posted about these orders before, but in light of some questions we have received and recent media coverage of the 201 “missing” NSW offenders, I thought we might just touch on them again.

Suppression orders are automatically applied to most cases of the sexual abuse of a child. This, according to the legislation, is to protect the victims. When a suppression order is in place, anyone who tells others that the offender involved has indeed been convicted of a sexual offence against a child is liable to criminal prosecution themselves, as they have breached the order.

This then of course means that although we can be told that there are 201 offenders missing in NSW, we cannot be told who most of them are or where they were last known to be. I am sure you are seeing the irony of this already……….

We can be told the names and whereabouts of those people who have killed a child, but not those who are known to rape and molest children………in order to protect the children.

Yes, I most definitely do have first hand knowledge of some people who are grateful for the suppression orders, who feel that their privacy and anonymity are protected by the orders. I have seen and heard children being bullied in schools because they are known to have been victims of sexual abuse.

This to me is a sad indictment on our society – what thinking person mocks someone for being sexually abused? Clearly the children doing the bullying in these cases are copying the words and attitudes of the adults they are in close contact with. We need to stop the victim blaming and start really protecting our children. That includes the adults who say things like “Surely the mother knew this was going on – she should be locked up” “Where were the parents while this was going on?” and so forth – the one and only person to blame for the sexual abuse of a child is the person who is abusing them.

There are people who say that if we were able to know the names of sexual predators we would have an increase in vigilante attacks – this is not what the evidence from places such as America would indicate and quite frankly I would rather risk the safety of a predator than that of a child any day. Those who would wish harm to these abusers are mostly the victims or the families of those they have preyed upon and statistics show that most of them are more interested in moving on than in any form of retribution. They want justice yes, sentences that fit the crimes, to be heard, believed and validated, but not normally to kill or injure their abuser.

I personally feel that suppression orders should not be automatic – if their sole purpose is truly to protect the victims as the legislation states, then let the victims decide if an order is to be put into place or not.

Surely, the simple fact that so many offenders are wandering around out there, flying under the radar as it were, highlights the very real need for a publicly accessible child sex offenders register. (GE)

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