I read a disturbing story today about a 10-year-old Aboriginal girl in Far North Queensland who had been gang-raped by six teenagers and three adults, and had been let off by Cairns District Court judge Sarah Bradley because the prosecutor had maintained that the sex had been “consensual in the general sense” and had described it only as “naughty”.

Apparently the rape happened in 2006 but the lack of convictions had caused such an outrage amongst the general community in Australia that the prosecutor, Steve Carter, was stood aside this week and an appeal announced which will be heard on 30 January.

I looked up the story on one of the Australian news websites this evening which said that the child was gang-raped at the age of seven in Aurukun on Cape York in 2002, and was then put into foster care with a family in Cairns. After being returned to Aurukun by the Department of Child Safety at the age of 10 in April last year, she was gang-raped again.

You hear about stories like this in Africa and a few Asian countries from time to time, but it is shocking to learn that such child abuse is still going on in a ‘civilised’ country like Australia.

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