There is, sadly, a very high rate of child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities in Australia.

 

ABC News Australia

Child sexual abuse charges laid against dozens of men in Pilbara region

3 June 2017

Dozens of alleged paedophiles have been arrested across the Pilbara region as part of a police crackdown on child sex abuse.

Police would not confirm the number of men charged or how many offences were allegedly committed.

But reports in the local newspaper stated more than 30 men had been charged with almost 300 counts of child sex abuse during a nine-month operation across areas including Roebourne and Karratha.

Minister for Child Protection Simone McGurk said it was a distressing situation and the Government was providing significant resources to address the issue.

“We’ve got child protection workers, specialist police officers and other dedicated resources on the ground giving support to the families and the community,” she said.

“I’d like to acknowledge the strength of the children, the families … who have the courage to come forward.

“Actually coming forward is a first step in systemic change.”

Ms McGurk said reports that a large number of those arrested were men from remote communities should not be a focus.

The Member for Fremantle Simon McGurk

“I think it would be a mistake if we think that child safety is an issue that’s confined to a particular community or geographical location,” she said.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sex Abuse I think has highlighted that.”

A statement from police said the the operation “deals with sensitive matters and is ongoing”.

“As such, the Commissioner of Police won’t be adding to any public commentary at this time,” the statement read.

Latest in a string of charges

Since September last year the ABC has reported on at least eleven men from the region being charged with child sex offences.

The accused range in age from 22 to 69, with some of the allegations involving historical child sex abuse.

In February it was announced eight additional detectives had been sent to the area to address a rise in crime.

Pilbara District Superintendent Paul Coombes told the ABC at the time the extra officers would target child sex abuse and high-end crime in the Pilbara.

In September last year police made a public announcement to residents encouraging them to report child abuse.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

The call came following the arrest of three men from Roebourne for a number of offences including indecently dealing with a child and sexual penetration of a child over 13.

The Commissioner for Children Colin Petit said in a statement he was pleased the “diligent and focused investigations had occurred in Roebourne and nearby towns”.

“Particularly that children and young people have felt confident to come forward and speak with police and staff from other agencies,” his statement said.

“This situation exemplifies how vital it is for children and young people being actively supported to speak out when they are scared or concerned about their safety, wherever they are in the state.”

“I have asked agencies to ensure that the children and young people involved, and their parents or carers, receive support and therapeutic or healing services as the investigation and court processes continue.”

Mr Petit concluded that once the process was over it was important a strong preventative approach be established in the community.