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A paedophile teacher has been sentenced to 18 years in jail after sexually abusing 16 young students.

*TRIGGER WARNING – some readers may find this content distressing*

Shane Andrew Matthews, an assistant principal, groomed young trusting boys and deceived their parents as he plotted the abuse.

The teacher sexually abused 16 primary school students. His crimes were described as calculated, predatory and systematic.

The court heard his victims were boys aged only 10 and 11, and he used reward systems to build their trust, reports 7 news.

He would target students who needed extra help, abusing them in special tutoring sessions.

The teacher rocked back and forth, shaking uncontrollably as the graphic details of his offences were read to the court. The judge said he had low prospects of rehabilitation.

“As to whether he is truly remorseful and contrite… to my mind he fails to demonstrate any remorse,” Judge Jennifer English said.

He will be eligible for parole in 2028.

This week is National Child Protection Week.

The stats are horrifying!

Every 90 minutes a child is substantiated as having been sexually assaulted in Australia – that’s 1 in 5 children who are sexually harmed in some way before their 18th Birthday accounting for 58,000 children in all corners of Australia, every year.

Hetty Johnston AM, Founder and Executive Chair of Bravehearts said, “There is nothing more important than protecting our children and now every parent and carer can ensure they are better informed on the steps they need to take to help protect their children from harm.

“All Australians need to understand that child sexual assault is a crime that can potentially affect any family regardless of race, religion, gender and economic status – it doesn’t discriminate.

“One of the most important things we can do is to empower our children to identify when something doesn’t feel right, and to talk to and tell a trusted adult without fear of consequences.

“Every Australian child has the right to feel safe and by helping parents and carers to empower their children with personal safety skills; together we can help prevent child sexual assault and make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child,” said Ms Johnston.

Australia’s leading child protection advocate Bravehearts, has launched their FREE Personal Safety Parents’ Guide to help Australian parents better protect their children.

How Parents can protect their children: TEACH THEM EARLY ABOUT PERSONAL SAFETY

Bravehearts say it’s never too early to sow the seeds of personal safety.

As parents, we need to teach our children 5 basic principles (which form the basis of our personal safety education program for young children, Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure).

These principles are:

1 To trust their feelings and to distinguish between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings
2 To say ‘no’ to adults if they feel unsafe and unsure
3 That they own their own bodies
4 That nothing is so yucky that they can’t tell someone about it
5 That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS Encourage your children to feel comfortable telling you anything, especially if it involves another adult. Encourage your children to identify other trusted adults they can talk to in confidence.

BE AWARE Learn about the people with whom your child is spending time. Take notice if someone shows one or all of your children a great deal of attention or begins giving them gifts. Take time to talk to your children, find out why the person is acting in this way.

EMPOWER YOUR KIDS Knowledge is power. Teach your children about their bodies. Teach them the correct language to use when describing their private parts. Emphasise that those parts are private. This will make them more at ease if they need to tell you about a touch that made them feel uncomfortable. Additionally, if a child uses a word like ‘garage’ or ‘golf stick’ to describe their private parts, a disclosure might be missed.

GET INVOLVED Be an active participant with your children’s activities, you will have a better opportunity to observe how the adults in charge interact with your children. If you are concerned about anyone’s behaviour, take it up with the sponsoring organisation.

TEACH THEM THEIR RIGHTS Teach your kids that they have the right to say NO to any unwelcome, uncomfortable, or confusing touch or actions by others. Teach them to tell you immediately if this happens. Reassure them that you are there to help and it is okay to tell you anything.

NOTICE CHANGES IN BEHAVIOUR Be sensitive to any changes in your children’s behaviour or attitude. Encourage open communication and learn how to be an active listener. Look and listen to small indications that something may be troubling your children, because children are not always comfortable disclosing disturbing events or feelings. This may be because they are concerned about your reaction to their problems. If your children do confide problems to you, strive to remain calm, non-critical, and non judgemental. Listen compassionately to their concern and work with them to get the help they need to resolve the problem.

PRACTICE SAFETY SKILLS Practice basic safety skills with your children. Make an outing to a mall or a park a ‘teachable’ experience in which your children can practice checking with you, using pay phones, going to the restroom with a friend, and locating the adults who can help if they need assistance.

CYBER-SAFETY IS IMPORTANT TOO Teach your child never to give out their last name, address, or phone number to a person on the Internet and never to meet Internet friends in person without a parent’s supervision and consent. Parents should help children choose a screen name that does not disclose information about their location. Teach children not to post pictures with identifying information such as a school uniform. Always keep your computer in a public area of your house – not in a child’s bedroom. If multiple computers for multiple children are necessary, consider laptops with wireless Internet.

Find more info on Bravehearts.org.au

Share your comments below

  • had to comment on this yet another sexual abuse of children. I did not recall the feelings and the facts that I was sexually abused continually for a number of years. I was working as youth worker with homeless youth. When my awareness occured in hospital I thought “this has happened to me so I can work with this reoccuring issue with adolecents.. I had so detached from myself this had given me anxiety and depression felt better helping others but not myself. I am in my 70’s now and tho abuse has been dealt with my value of self has remained that I feel not good enough thought had to do it myself. Realise there are so many others I have met on this journey that have not healed. Children think that adults are right and they must do as they are told..I am pleased that others are dealing with these horrific issues earlier. Also that perpetrators are being given sever penalties now, as it is like a death to the damaged innocent child.. I am still better dealing with others issues than my own as the learning I got as child stopped me feeling early in my life and feeling others more important than I. Know not true but still trying

    Reply

  • Really great advice from this article

    Reply

  • He abused 16 kids (that we know of) and has low prospects of rehabilitation, yet he only gets 18 years? WTF??? It has been proven that this kind of behaviour is built in to these disgusting people and they cannot change. So lock them up permanently. Find a gated community somewhere for them all to live and chuck them in there with no internet and bring them out in a box when they get old and die there. Children should have more right to be protected from a child molester.

    Reply

  • It is sad the innocence of childhood has been destroyed for them at such a young age. I know of one little girl who was only 5 years old when she was molested by her on Dad when he Mum want shopping alone. (he used one of his fingers -she told her Mum she was sore – her Mum found blood in her knickers and took her straight to their GP).
    I know a kindergarten age girl whose Mum has been in hospital who told her Dad she is not allowed to look at her bottom and didn’t want him to bath her. He only wanted to wash her back as she hasn’t managed to do that properly. With no family support available he simply got her to sit with her back towards him, washed her back and walked out of the bathroom. It was the only option he could think of.

    Reply

  • So scary this teacher has been teaching & abusing for so many years !!
    We must teach our children these safe principles.
    I’m sometimes very concerned about my youngest who has Down Syndrome, no danger awareness or stranger danger awareness, who’s non verbal and likes to be touched and hugged by everyone. She would make a beautiful and easy prey. Very disturbing.

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  • Horrifying statistics such important work Bravehearts are doing.

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  • I hope all families and schools make a special point of discussing child protection with their children this week.

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  • It’s so important now more so than ever before to have the conversation with kids. Especially with technology advances, location services etc.

    Reply

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