Child abuse victim's mum appalled

A WOMAN whose former partner admitted to sexually assaulting their young daughter 74 times said she was angry the man was not sent to prison.

State Clarence MP Steve Cansdell and Shadow Attorney-General Greg Smith are now moving to close the loophole that kept the man out of prison.

Mr Cansdell said he and Mr Smith planned to introduce a private member’s bill during the next sitting of Parliament aimed at making sure people facing so many serious child sex offences could not escape a prison sentence.

The 48-year-old Casino man, who cannot be identified, was this week convicted by Lismore District Court Judge James Black after pleading guilty to 27 counts of having sex without consent and indecently dealing with his daughter between January and July last year. The man also accepted another 47 counts that were attached to his indictment.

However, instead of being sent to prison the man was released back into the community because he had started a sex offender’s rehabilitation program through Cedar Cottage in Sydney.

Sydney West Area Health Service, which runs Cedar Cottage, failed to respond to questions about the case put to it on Thursday. Its website says the service’s primary goal is protection of children and that the service works closely with families to help victims, the other non-offending parent and other family members come to terms with the abuse.

The girl’s mother, who also cannot be identified to protect the child’s identity, said she had expected him to be sent to prison.

“They told me that mine and the victim’s opinions and feelings get taken into account in whether or not he gets accepted into the program,” she said. “They haven’t listened to us.”

The mother said the man’s abuse of her daughter actually stretched back to 2008. She and her new husband learned of the abuse and immediately went to the police last year after the girl confided in a family friend.

The mother said she was pleased her daughter did not have to go through the process of giving evidence in court, but added the benefits of seeing justice delivered on the man and being able to deliver a victim impact statement to the court might have made it worth it.

“The DPP people and detectives working on the case interviewed my daughter and said they had never come across such a strong witness and such a strong child before,” she said.

“It would have been horrible and distressing (to give evidence) but, with support and counselling and the right kind of help around her, she could have handled it.”

The child was so keen to speak out about the abuse she had decided to write a book about her experiences, she said.

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