Friday, June 01, 2007

Pedophilia is rife in Aboriginal communities across Australia

Annabel Stafford:

PEDOPHILIA is rife in Aboriginal communities across Australia, Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough has said, nominating the sexual abuse of children as one of the major issues facing indigenous Australians.

Mr Brough said the community of Kalumburu — where about 10 per cent of adult males have recently been charged with sexually abusing children — was not an isolated case.

"I do not believe that this is the only community where children are being abused, because even in the suburbs of Perth … (indigenous people tell me) 'do not think that this is only happening in the bush, it's happening here in our suburbs as well'," he said.

Asked if his much-criticised claim of pedophile rings in some indigenous communities had been proved right, Mr Brough said: "It speaks for itself, doesn't it? I don't have to (give it a name). The approximate population (in Kalumburu) is about 450 and so far 11 people have been arrested; 72 charges have been laid. There are allegations here of child pornography as well, and one report had the girl (involved) as young as three."

But he said he felt "abhorrence and disgust" over the revelations. "The fact that I said these things were occurring is a moot point … I do not want to be seen to be saying I told you so."

His comments coincide with today's release of an annual Productivity Commission report into indigenous disadvantage, which reveals that Aboriginal children are nearly four times as likely to be abused or neglected than non-Aboriginal children — and that's just reported abuse — and six times more likely to be on care or protection orders.

There are some shafts of light, with indigenous unemployment dropping from 30 per cent to 13 per cent in the decade to 2005, and home ownership increasing from 22 per cent to 25 per cent.

But there are many areas of concern. Between 1981 and 2002, suicides among indigenous men grew by 800 per cent compared with 30 per cent among non-indigenous men; suicides by indigenous women grew by an annual average of 25.8 per cent.

And between 2000 and 2006, indigenous imprisonment leapt by 31.9 per cent, with indigenous Australians now 12.9 times more likely to be imprisoned than other Australians.

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Teaching a new Aboriginality

Australia battles rise in alcohol abuse

Aborigines still Australia's worst-off: report

ATSIC blamed for poor indigenous statistics


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