An inquiry continues examining why criminal cases against people who abuse disabled children are less likely to result in prosecutions.
*Trigger warning – this content may be confronting for some readers
9 News reports, SA’s Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber SC began his evidence on Monday at a royal commission case study that is looking at how the requirements of the criminal justice system relating to oral evidence and cross-examination work for very young children or those with disabilities and communication difficulties.
The commission has already heard from a mother whose six-year-old disabled son was molested by a school bus driver in Adelaide. Complaints by her and other parents about the driver never got to court because prosecutors said the children did not have the capacity to undergo cross-examination.
Counsel assisting the commission, Jeremy Kirk SC, said on Monday there were up to 171,000 children under 15 in Australia who live with severe or profound disability, and what happens to them in institutions is of particular concern to the commission.
He also said research showed that although there was a significantly high number of complaints about abuse of disabled children, proportionally fewer of those complaints ended in prosecution.
On Tuesday the commission will also hear from mothers of disabled children in Victoria and NSW who will tell what happened when they reported the abuse to police.
The commission is looking at whether special measures already in place in some jurisdictions are adequate to assist with the taking of evidence from young children and those who are disabled.
It will also examine what reforms are needed.
We hope the outcome is a massive shack up of the system.
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