There ought to be a Royal Commission, and so say all of us. I think everyone will be very happy to see that decades of child abuse are finally being investigated by the highest moral authorities in the land (the ABC, the Fairfax press, and the Gillard government).
It would be a shame, though, to let this marvellous opportunity go past and miss any community groups. Some of the better suggestions I’ve heard today for the terms of reference for the forthcoming Commission are:
An investigation into every government-run hostel, mental home, orphanage and State government-level community services department that has neglected to report on, or act upon to prevent, child abuse, up to and including this year.
- A call for evidence to be presented on the extent of female genital mutilation and forced child marriage in Australia today.
- A thorough exposure of the current state of Aboriginal children’s sexual, mental and physical health in remote area communities in Australia, including the naming and shaming of any and all local officials, social workers, school teachers and health care workers who have turned a blind eye to institutionalised abuses in the name of ‘cultural relevance’.
- A special focus on sexual abuse of disabled children in institutional care, including the long and established policy of imposing contraception and sterilisation upon them as a means of avoiding telltale pregnancies, instead of safeguarding them from abuse in the first place.
And as for a chair — well, why not choose someone whose feminist credentials are apparently impeccable? I understand Peter Slipper is not doing much these days.
Philippa Martyr blogs at Transverse City