вторник, 10 июня 2008 г.

Extension of child sex abuse probe `risks predator stigma'

ANY move to extend the Mullighan Commission's child sex abuse investigations into other Aboriginal communities in South Australia is set to face opposition from indigenous leaders.

An indigenous community leader from the state's southwest coast said it would be wrong to do so and would effectively brand all Aboriginal communities as ``being sexual predators''.

Kokatha Mula elder Bronwyn Coleman Sleep expressed her opposition to further investigations on the eve of commissioner Ted Mullighan's report on child sex abuse on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands being tabled in South Australian parliament.

The Rann Government is likely to release the report publicly today.

Cases of abuse similar to those uncovered by the Little Children are Sacred report in the Northern Territory are expected to be revealed, and the commissioner has already called for a wider investigation.

Ms Coleman Sleep, from Ceduna, said the Government should carefully consider any such recommendation.

``If it incorporates all communities, then we're all tarred with the same brush,'' she said in Adelaide yesterday. ``It's lumping us all into the same basket saying that we're all doing this. It's not right throughout Australia in Aboriginal communities, so why target, why brand all Aboriginal communities as being sexual predators of young children.''

APY leaders have said that corruption and misappropriation of government funding ``run by non-Anangu business or political interests'' underlie a culture of bullying and intimidation that has led to dysfunctional communities. In a submission, they said the path to greater safety for women and children on the lands was through stricter governance, accountability and transparency.

The APY executive board wants all entities on the lands -- communities, stores, arts centres -- to be incorporated under the APY Land Rights Act under which it operates, a move that would then impose strict governance and accounting provisions.

They have also called for: all employees of the entities to be subject to the APY Act's code of conduct and subject to the Public Offences provisions of the Crimes Act; police and working-with-children checks to be mandatory for all employees; and a registrar on the lands with the power to seize records and property.

These ``tools'' would provide a ``more accountable, transparent and safer community'', the submission said.

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