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social catastrophe in the 'Pit' Lands « Previous | |Next »
May 8, 2008

Ted Mullighan's Report on sexual abuse in the Pitjantjatjara Lands in the north west of South Australia. Most of the sexual abuse of young children documented by Mullighan appears to have been carried out by indigenous people, principally men and older boys. His report will make unsettling reading for the APY communities that invited the inquiry on to their lands and co-operated to the extent that the fear of retribution allowed people to speak to Mullighan's investigators.

Girls exchanged sex for food, grog and marijuana. Social dysfunction caused by despondency, alcohol, drugs, petrol sniffing and gambling has already destroyed countless lives. Parents do not know how to care for and protect their children or have become unable to do so. There has been a failure of government agencies in South Australia who were responsible for children being left vulnerable to sex abuse in indigenous communities. The Rann Government has been negligent in providing the numbers of police and child-protection workers on the APY lands.

Mullighan proposed an interactive approach, including stationing more police in the communities, and boosting the over-stretched ranks of welfare workers. Night patrols, backed by police, should be re-instigated and access to pornography strenuously restricted, a measure that has overtones of the territory intervention.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:51 AM | | Comments (2)


Check out Tim Dunlop's Blogocracy where the first comment points out that Mullighan's report gives a rate of child sexual abuse for indigenous people that is about the same, or perhaps even lower than the rest of Australians [and there is evidence from elsewhere that suggests that the rate of CSA is generally lower in indigenous communities than the 'white' community].
Which doesn't seem to be taken into account at all, either with the invasion of the NT or this current issue.
Basically CSA, and the related issue of domestic violence, should be seen as endemic to ALL sectors of our society including rich upper class white elite suburban.
To continue to focus on the indigenous aspect is to do a critical disservice to the hundreds of thousands of children being sexually abused in non-indigenous Australia and to racially scapegoat the indigenous people.
The issues related in the second paragraph above can be directed with equal or greater validity because we are talking about a population scores larger, at Adelaide [or Sydney or anywhere]. Until it is admitted that CSA [and DV] are problems endemic to the whole of Australian society then no meaningful progress to tackling same can even begin.
The response to the Mullighan report is part of the cause of CSA/DV in this whole nation and contributes less than nothing to the answer.

Good point. The truth is that nobody knows exactly what the levels of child sexual abuse really are in either black or white Australia, and there's no way of knowing how much rivers of grog, drugs, despair, poor housing, pornography and petrol sniffing contribute to white abuse.

As you say, it is rather hypocritical to focus on Aborigines, and it would be good to see at least a parallel ad campaign run for the whole population. However if doing something for Aboriginal kids is the only way we can think of to make up for past injustices of our own I guess you have to do it in a way people find acceptable.