Bradyn Dillon's case worker 'does not know' why abusive father was not thoroughly checked
- Abusers job or title:: Father
- Category: Queensland Child Protection Services
- Created: Thursday, 12 September 2019 00:00
- Written by Elizabeth Byrne - ABC News
The child protection case officer responsible for a Canberra boy murdered by his father has been unable to say why she did not carry out more thorough checks on his abusive parent when she was looking after the case in 2014.
His father, Graham Dillon, is now serving more than 40 years in jail.
During today's hearing, it emerged that Dillon had told the case worker he had custody of Bradyn to protect the boy from his abusive mother.
But it was also revealed the child protection system had several records illustrating Dillon's dark past, including family violence against two women.
In fact, Bradyn's mother had contacted the service about Dillon well before those reports were made, and another woman, to whom Dillon was married, had even left her phone number.
There had also been a recent police report made about him.
But the case worker was unable to say why she had not checked any of the information, or contacted either of the women.
She told the court she had heard from a support worker at another service that Dillon was a good father.
The coronial inquest has been examining the events leading up to the murder, and how Bradyn effectively disappeared from the system.
The case worker told the court she first met Bradyn and his father in July 2014, after receiving several reports from the boy's school about bruising on his face.
A teacher told the child protection team there were finger mark bruises on the boy.
She also reported strange behaviour, including that he froze if he thought he was in trouble.
But the Coroner's court heard the child protection team asked him Bradyn about his bruises.
"I don't want to talk about it," he said.
Bradyn was also asked what was great about his father.
"Everything is great about Dad," he said.
The case worker said she visited the family at home with a colleague.
The other woman present told the court: "I remember [Bradyn] being very well behaved … is the best way to put it."
"I remember Graham being very emotional being quite up and down," she said.
She said he told the workers about his own childhood in foster care.
Dillon also said of his son: "Bradyn has a big heart and [is] very caring."
The workers told the court they convinced Dillon to take his son to a GP, to examine the bruises, but were shocked when the doctor found there was nothing wrong, and the bruises were most likely accidental.
A more senior child protection worker, who also gave evidence today, told the court resources were a serious problem for the service.
"There's always problems with staffing … it's always been a struggle," she said.
She said a national database could help faster information sharing between jurisdictions, but even then, it would come down to resourcing.
The woman did agree however that the reports about Dillon should have been followed up and used in the assessment of the situation.
- Abuser Name or Alias:: Graeme Dillon
- Abusers Organisation:: Queensland Child Safety
- Type of Abuse:: Physical, Death
- Matter Resolved?: Ongoing