Children sue Victoria Department of Human Services for failing to stop brutal beatings by stepdad

TWO children who suffered abuse at the hands of their stepfather are suing the Department of Human Services for failing to protect them.

The pair was subjected to almost daily beatings over 16 months.

Teachers kept a log of the children's injuries and made numerous reports to DHS.

But despite six trips to hospital, the children were not rescued until 2008 when X-rays showed multiple fractures in both.

A body scan found 29 old and existing injuries to the boy and 44 injuries to the girl. Their stepfather was jailed after pleading guilty to charges including intentionally causing serious injury.

The brother and sister are now in the care of their grandmother who has launched the Supreme Court damages claim on their behalf.

She obtained an order allowing their names to be removed from court files.

The Herald Sun has not included many details of the case for legal reasons.

Justice Anthony Cavanough said there was no doubt the children lived within and were “subjected to an appalling history of domestic violence".

Court documents reveal the family will allege DHS "negligently failed to protect the applicants from physical and psychological harm suffered by them as a consequence of family violence".

The court heard both children have severe psychological and emotional problems for which they are receiving professional care.

The grandmother said that since their stepfather's court case she had been devoted to looking after the health and wellbeing of her grandchildren and trying to "normalise" their lives.

"Both (the girl) and her brother are attending school and are endeavouring to live a normal life free from the traumas of their past," she said.

Slater and Gordon's Barrie Woollacott, representing the family, said children needed to be protected.

"For a child to thrive and develop to their full potential they need to at least be able to grow up in a safe family environment," he said.

"As a community we should be entitled to expect that our youngest and most vulnerable will be protected from harm.

"If the system is not protecting our children there should be consequences, and not just for the child."

Source : https://amp.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/children-sue-department-of-human-services-for-failing-to-stop-brutal-beatings-by-stepdad/news-story/f61410cd60aac1678cbaa7aa45a9e3ba


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