A protective mother gets a reply from the Attorney-General’s Office

The children are waiting for a letter — waiting for a reply

Some interesting developments have happened over the last 24 hours. Our article “A Letter From Dr Pridgeon – The Man Who Fulfilled the PM’s Promise” was posted onto over a hundred news sites across the globe yesterday, and a protective mother got a reply from the Attorney-General’s office.

I have been communicating with this mother for a few weeks. She was also supported by Dr Russell Pridgeon while dealing with her family court matter.

Over eighteen months ago, she had written a five page open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Attorney-general (Brandis) and other ministers (Frydenberg, Kelly, Cash, Keenan, and Hinch).  This correspondence in February, 2017, described the extreme abuse of the Family Court system, the intimidation, and how people become psychologically scarred and financially destitute.

She got a reply from Derryn Hinch’s office.

In June 2018, the Hon Steve Irons MP spoke out during a debate in federal parliament. Being a victim himself, he said:

“We have heard the many stories about institutional child sex abuse over the last 10 years. They are often reflected in private homes around Australia as well, for which there is no form of redress at all under the system. After our achievement today [the introduction of a redress scheme], we need to look at child abuse in private homes and how the children continue to be returned to the abusers.

Inspired by Steve Irons’ words, this mother sent an email to Irons on 22 June, 2018, with the original open letter attached. This was also cc’d it to Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP and others (Turnbull, Tehan, Prentice, Gillespie, Henderson, Frydenberg).

Yesterday morning, 1 November, 2018, she emailed me the open letter at 7.07am [Melbourne 8.07am]. One and a half hours later, at 8.30am, a reply was emailed to her from the Attorney-general’s office. And a most positive response too.

This is an encouraging sign from the government.

I have published Attorney-general’s reply, and then below that, her email to the Hon Steve Irons MP to which the open letter was attached.

1 November 2018

Dear [redacted]

I refer to your letter of 22 June 2018, to the Hon Steve Irons MP, which you have copied to the Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, regarding a Royal Commission into the Family Court system. Matters relating to both royal commissions and the family law system in Australia fall within the Attorney’s portfolio responsibilities. The Attorney has asked that I reply to you on his behalf about these matters. I apologise for the delay in responding to your correspondence.

I acknowledge your concerns regarding the Family Court system. The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that all children are safe and protected from abuse. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) focussed on child sexual abuse in institutions. The implementation of many of the recommendations will also lead to improved protection and safety of all Australian children in non-institutional settings.

On 13 June 2018, the Australian Government tabled its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in parliament and published the response at www.ag.gov.au/carcresponse.

The Australian Government committed to ensuring it carefully, comprehensively and appropriately responded to the substantial work of this Royal Commission. The taskforce within the Attorney-General’s Department is coordinating action on the recommendations of the Royal Commission and will continue to track progress made by all Australian Governments until June 2020.

The taskforce is working closely with all relevant Australian Government agencies and state and territory governments to progress recommendations. The government will report annually on implementation each December until 2022, and conduct a 10-year review in 2027.

On 19 September 2018, the Australian Government tabled its response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ inquiry report on a better family law system to support and protect those affected by family violence. The Government is supportive of the majority of the Committee’s 33 recommendations for improving the response to the family law system to the issue of family violence. The Attorney-General thanked the Committee for its report and appreciates the generous contributions of those who made written submissions to the inquiry, provided evidence at public hearings or shared their experiences through the online questionnaire. Further details about the inquiry, including the Committee’s report and the Government’s response, can be found at www.aph.gov.au/FVlawreform.

On 27 September 2017, the former Attorney-General, George Brandis QC, referred an inquiry to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) for a comprehensive review of the family law system since the commencement of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) in 1976. The ALRC will consider what reforms would be necessary to ensure the family law system meets the contemporary needs of families and effectively addresses family violence and child abuse. The ALRC is due to provide its report to the Attorney-General by 31 March 2019. Further information on the review of the family law system, including the Terms of Reference can be found here: https://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system.

If you are experiencing any distress as a result of your family situation, you may wish to contact a specialist support service to help you through this difficult time. A list is available on the Support Services page of the Australian Government Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse website at www.ag.gov.au/carcresponse.

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Australian Government about this important issue. Hearing about people’s personal stories will continue to help the Australian Government take steps to better protect the rights of children and survivors of child abuse. I trust this information is of assistance.
Yours sincerely
Samantha Byng
Assistant Secretary (A/g)
Royal Commissions (Commonwealth Representation) Branch

[Emphasis added]

THE LETTER TO Hon Steve Irons MP, cc’d to the A-g’s office, plus others:

22 June, 2018

Dear Steve,

I spoke today to Gayle from your office and asked that she could pass on my personal thanks to you for your speech in Parliament on 14th June 2018. I applaud you for your forthright sentiments about the crime of child sexual assault and your justified anger with perpetrators who commit this crime. As a former ward of the State and as a survivor, it seems clear that you possess an understanding about this topic that your parliamentary colleagues appear to lack. I am so sorry that the adults charged with looking after you when you were a child failed in their duty-of-care. I hope that you can receive some justice and redress along with the other thousands of survivors.

I was quite dismayed that not one Member of Parliament from the Coalition bothered to respond to my Open Letter which I penned at the beginning of last year and sent out to many Members of Parliament. Quite frankly it makes me feel that they do not care; because talk without action is meaningless. Now that the 5 years of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse has handed in its final report, and the research has confirmed how critically important it is to believe children when they first disclose sexual assault – it is  untenable that our Government has not acted to protect the hundreds of victims of the Family Court System. I know that Hetty Johnston has been to Canberra on several occasions and has provided the Prime Minister and the Attorney General with the irrefutable evidence of what has been happening. It is shameful that the failures continue to this day with many children being harmed.

Since your colleagues seem to lack your fine moral compass, could you communicate to them the need for swift and decisive action? There is a need for a Royal Commission into the Family Court System to look at how children’s disclosures of sexual assault are dealt with. Also for the 33 urgent recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into a better Family Law System to be implemented. I provided a great deal of information to the Parliamentary Inquiry last year about my personal experiences of failures of the Family Court System. It is clear that had a proper family violence screening tool been used by the Family Court back in 2007, that my youngest son and I would not have been forced to endure over 10 years of court-ordered abuse, and I would be in a better financial position – having spent over $250,000 in legal fees. I still await a decision from a Family Court judge (after 8 months of waiting),  as to whether I will be gaoled and my son placed in the care of his abusive father. The man whom my son told me perpetrated years of sexual abuse on him when he was a little boy.

Only recently the Prime Minister stated during a press conference

“The Royal Commission has made it very clear that we all have a role to play to keep our children safe. We all have a vested interest in the safety of other people’s children, not just our own. We have to take an interest in our future, those children are our future”

I look forward to receiving a written response to my open letter particularly from the Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and from the Attorney General the Hon Christian Porter MP. An update on the number of people who have signed the Abbeys Project Change petition now stands at 98,979 as of today’s date – the 22nd June 2018.

I will finish this with just one of the Messages to Australia from a survivor of child sexual assault who told their story to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse.

“It is my hope that by the abused children of my generation telling their stories to the Royal Commission, their suffering and their courage will ensure that this abuse will never happen again to another Australian child.”

They understand, as you do; that any child who is sexually assaulted – is one child too many. I recently sat in the State Library of QLD, quietly weeping as I looked through the Message to Australia. I read heart-rending message after message from survivors who were sexually assaulted as innocent and vulnerable children. As a mother of [REDACTED] I could not bear the thought of all those children being harmed – or any child for that matter. Every child is sacred and we must do better to keep every single one safe from predators. Thank You once again Steve for your honesty, your integrity and your leadership. Our country needs more good men like you.

Yours Faithfully,

[Protective mother – named removed]

[Attached in the email was the detail five page open letter originally sent to the previous prime minister a year before. I will redact relevant portions and make this available for download as a PDF.]

Open Letter for download.

Source : https://gumshoenews.com/2018/11/02/a-protective-mother-gets-a-reply-from-the-attorney-generals-office/?fbclid=IwAR1ypM9Af2mKmeSJDOC2u_AcRdrOwc-AyxEJqcOboAWmr3pOPZe8QDlJv40

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