School authorities ignored kindergarten 'child-on-child' sexual abuse, mother claims


A South Australian mother says school and government authorities swept aside her family’s concerns when they discovered a boy at kindergarten had sexually abused their child.

News Corp reports the mother – who cannot be named to protect her child’s identity – said school staff dismissed the abusive behaviour as normal.

Her four-year-old child was one of 15 allegedly exposed to alleged ‘child-on-child’ abuse at a small community in South Australia’s south east.

“My child was repeatedly abused and it was ignored,” she said.

“Staff had told parents that ‘mothers are making up stories’ and 'it was all age appropriate.'"

"One teacher had said to a mother — whose child disclosed extremely disturbing behaviour — that, ‘there is nothing that we can see about the boy in question’s behaviour that is of a concern, it’s absolutely normal behaviour.'"

The boy is still enrolled at the kindergarten and now requires constant supervision. His behaviour is said to have extended to out of school care.

Children subjected to the abusive behaviour have moved to other kindergartens, some of which are long distances away.

The mothers complaints echo shocking revelations raised in a Senate submission by University of South Australia Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs , who said easy access to pornography was driving an increase in sexualised behaviour in young children.

Professor Briggs wrote last month of the incident in which 15 children had been subject to ‘child-on-child abuse’ in South Australia. 

“The staff allegedly ignored anal and oral sex accompanied by threats and secrecy, dismissing it as “normal developmentally appropriate behaviour,'" Professor Briggs wrote.

“Parents complained to the CEO of South Australia’s Department of Child Development and Education (DECD) and Minister Susan Close.

“Parents removed victims from the kindergarten for their safety but the next nearest facility involves a 240km drive each day.”

According to Professor Briggs, Minister Susan Close confirmed a ‘police driven’ rule in which teachers were instructed not to ask questions in such cases through fear they may contaminate evidence. 

“It is alleged that no-one asked him where he had learned to play these ‘sex games’", Professor Briggs wrote.

“The Minister agrees that this rule was “police driven”. However police are not interested if the only witnesses to abuse are young or disabled and lack the sophisticated communication skills needed to undergo rigorous cross examination by barristers as witnesses in an adult criminal court.”

An Education Department spokesperson told News Corp procedures had been updated to deal with the rising incidences of sexualised behaviour in children.

"In response to the increasing prevalence and complexity of these behaviours, the department has updated procedures to ensure the response by individual staff and the agency is timely and appropriate. 

“Individualised approaches are put in place as each matter has its own layers of complexity requiring a very sensitive and empathetic response.”

The spokesperson said the department was providing ongoing support to the families and children involved with the kindergarten.