Documents released under FOI rules have revealed the extent to which NSW institutions have reported child sex offences to police while withholding the names of the victims.
Over the past eight years NSW police received 1476 “blind reports” of sexual assault from which the names of the victims were deleted, meaning police were unable to investigate and pursue a conviction.
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge had requested the figures under Freedom of Information legislation. The figures show the rate of blind reporting by institutions such as the Catholic Church had increased dramatically since 2007, when just 53 such reports were filed, to 2013 when 460 reports were submitted to police. The Police Integrity Commission last year recommended that police review the way it handled blind reports, and the Catholic Church has itself suspended the practice of submitting blind reports. The church has said it Professional Standards Office is now resubmitting many reports with the victim’s names intact, which may open the way to police finally investigating older allegations and prosecuting people accused of crimes against children.
Men jailed over Manus Island murder
Two men were sentenced to 10 years’ jail for the murder of an Iranian asylum seeker. The court heard Reza Barati was knocked over the head by a piece of timber and hit by a large rock during a riot in 2014 at the detention centre in Manus Island. The men were found guilty by a Papua New Guinea court.
Survey reveals Great Barrier Reef bleached
A survey has revealed that 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef has been impacted by coral bleaching. The bleaching spans from north to south along the Reef’s 2300km length. Professor Terry Hughes said in a press release said: “We’ve never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.”
Attacker pushes man on to train tracks, hands himself in
An offender who pushed a man on to train tracks at Noble Park station, 25 km south-east of Melbourne, has handed himself in to police. CCTV footage, released by Crime Stoppers, showed the attacker punching the victim in the head before pushing him on to the train tracks, and then riding away on a bicycle, shouting abuse. A bystander pulled the man back on to the platform before he could be struck by an incoming train.
One quarter of preschools fail to meet quality standards
One in four preschools in Australia have failed to meet quality standards, according to a report by the Mitchell Institute. The report illustrates that children are not attending preschools at the appropriate hours and that funding is needed to make the early education system prosper. The report said “Australia does not have a coherent or equitable policy framework and service delivery platform for children and their families in the early years. The system is complex, fragmented, and unequal access to effective services further entrenches health, social and economic inequalities.”
Fire rips through Wesley College campus in Victoria
Fire swept through parts of the Glen Waverley campus of Wesley College, an elite private co-ed school in Melbourne, at about 5am today. Residents in the area reported hearing explosions that one local man said sounded like gunfire. Upwards of 20 fire engines and 60 firefighters rushed to the scene, and 10 middle-school classrooms and their connecting atrium were damaged at the sprawling campus, which is about 20km south-east of the city. Students and staff were told of the blaze this morning and were given the day off. Police and firefighters are investigating.
Private school girl expelled, two suspended for drug possession
Three girls from an elite South Yarra school, Melbourne Girls’ Grammar, were caught in possession of ecstasy, cannabis and alcohol at their school formal on Friday night, the principal has advised parents in a letter. The girls, all in Year 12, were immediately removed from the venue and their parents called in. One girl was expelled and two were suspended from the school. Police said they had no record of the incident, and the school did not respond when asked whether authorities were alerted. – Compiled from news sources by Jesse Mullens and Taylor Yates
Photo by Ben Atkinson-James.