If only they did
Photo Courtesy of: dhs.vic.gov.au
THIS WILL SOUND unfair to all those dedicated social workers who have trouble sleeping at night because of the horror stories they have to handle in under-staffed and under-funded government agencies.
But jeez, judging by some of the cases that keep crossing my desk – and the callous, ignorant decisions made in the name of ‘child welfare’ – there’s no wonder I sometimes think the letters DHS stand for Deliberately Harming Somebody.
Just when I was trying find words to advise an ex-cop, whose son-in-law is about to cleverly plea-bargain his way out of some truly ghastly crimes of incest, the following anguished plea came from a grandmother. Read this, and tell me the shiny-bum pen pushers haven’t got it wrong (again) and that paedophiles’ rights don’t rule.
This is truly a ‘shake-your-head, the world’s gone mad, Wot the?’ situation.
‘Hi Derryn. My daughter was recently informed by DHS that her ex-husband has moved into a house with a registered sex offender who is a friend of his! My daughter has three children to her ex (a 14-year-old girl, and two boys 12 and 9) and was extremely concerned to learn the status of this friend he has moved in with. It is also distressing that my granddaughter sleeps on the lounge room couch when the kids go to their Dad’s every second weekend.
My daughter raised her concerns with DHS in regards to the kids staying in a house with a registered sex offender (and I wholeheartedly agree with her) yet DHS, apart from informing her of this person moving in with her ex, seem to be OK with it. They said as long as he is “supervised” when around the kids it’s fine. Their definition of “supervised” is that my daughter’s ex can supervise him. Considering they are friends, we do not feel that is sufficient.
kids’ welfare and safety
Needless to say, none of our family has any faith in the ex. He has been a troublemaker since they separated and divorced a few years ago and he constantly causes problems. We can’t believe that he has put a friendship with a registered sex offender in front of his own kids’ welfare and safety.
For various reasons we don’t have much faith in DHS and this is a joke. No wonder kids get hurt, killed etc. My daughter has also been dealing with Anglicare and the kids have admitted their father hurts them at times. Grabbing their hands and making them a fist and causing their nails to dig into their hands and grabbing them by the hair. One of the boys in particular has come back with bruises and the younger one has told us of being hit etc.
Who do we turn to these days to protect our children? DHS do nothing when we need their help and we have turned to them for help on numerous occasions. It seems that a lot of these departments and systems which are supposed to help us to protect our children are all talk and no real action. Is there anyone else who might listen to our concerns?’
It’s letters like that, letters of fear and despair, letters that shriek the words ‘common sense’, that make me wonder if we’ll ever win this fight.
Speaking of steps
But then you get letters like the one for this footnote:
‘I'd just like to thank you for being you and trying to uncover the evil and protect children. I recently had to go through a court case in order to protect my son whose paternal grandfather is a convicted paedophile. It was very hard but I'm happy now my son will be as safe as I can possibly keep him. It's people like you I look up to and will be grateful that you endeavour to keep kids safe from the evils out there. Well done and know you always have parents like me behind you every step of the way!’
Speaking of steps.
NEWS FLASH: Stay in touch with the news later today. An Australian government (not the Feds and not Victoria where the campaign started) is about to announce a major breakthrough in our drive for a national public register of convicted sex offenders. To steal from Chairman Mao: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Believe me, today is a giant step.