Ray was 6 years old, after his parents separated he was having weekend visitation at his fathers. Ray was returning withdrawn, he started wetting the bed, his school grades dropped and would complain that he felt sick before and after contact visits and would regularly get diarrhea. He had anxiety and night terrors.
Ray disclosed his father was doing inappropriate sexual things to him during the time he spent at his fathers.
Susan (Ray’s mother) was horrified and went to the police, where they took a statement from her, they did not interview Ray at this time.
The police concluded after one interview with the mother, she was “probably making it up”. Police did not interview Ray.
Over the next 7 months, Ray started talking to his trusted network including family members, family friends, several teachers and 2 school principals and several doctors. Ray was and was having suicidal thoughts and wanting to run away from school on the days the father was to pick him up.
Several mandatory reports were made to child safety and police with concerns for Ray’s wellbeing.
Child Safety refused to interview Ray however police eventually decided to interview Ray and went to school to interview Ray. (Without the mother’s knowledge).
Ray disclosed to the police in front of the school principle, giving details of the abuse he endured, including the date, time and other specific information.
The first interviewing police officer recorded that Ray had said specific details about the assault, including the date and place, and that he did not appear to be coached.
Police contacted the father for an interview, the father attended and profusely denied the allegations. Police did not search his premises or items such as a computer.
Child safety later interviewed the father and soon after the police called Susan to tell her the investigation was shut and they would not be pressing charges.
“I felt in was their too hard basket and there was no way I could protect my boy. How could the State Departments let my child down?”
The police file was submitted to a manager for review, and it was then concluded that the mother had coached Ray, this is despite the original conclusion given by the interviewing officer.
Police told Susan that Ray should get counselling for the sexual assault however he was denied this by the Federal Family court orders. The State departments did not enforce the need for Ray’s therapy despite it was against their own guidelines and failing in their duty of care.
“I withheld Ray from having contact with his father. The father filed a recovery order and police turned up to take Ray for visitation. I had to take the matter through the family court”.
“Each time a mandatory report was made by a third party the State department recorded inaccurately and accused me of coaching and actively wanting an investigation. They failed in their duty to protect my son”.
A Children’s lawyer was appointed to represent Ray during the family court proceedings. The Children’s lawyer clearly did not listen or believe Ray, she did not consider or submit vital evidence to the court that proved that Ray was at risk with the father.
“Because the police did not properly investigate, it was impossible for me to protect my son in the family court and the abuse continued under Federal Court Orders”.
The children’s lawyer told the Judge that she believed the child was not in any danger with the father and recommended that he be removed from the mothers care and have with no contact with Ray for 6 months and then she was to have supervised contact.
“I was repeatedly told because I raised allegations of child sexual abuse, I would lose residency and Ray would be sent to live with the perpetrator.
The Judge made an order that Ray see his father supervised”.
“I don’t feel the family court considered the ongoing damage that occurs when a child has to have ongoing contact with his abuser”.
The serious issue of child protection was in the family court for 6 years. I can’t count how many times I had to appear in court. It wasn’t just the trial it was all the other procedural hearings and fighting to get evidence submitted. During the trial I was treated like a criminal by the fathers legal team and the child’s lawyer. Susan said “I was interrogated, just because I believed my child and I was trying to protect him”.