Magnetic Island North Queensland
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October 7th 2009
Child sexual assault confirmed

Magnetic Island Police confirmed today that a man has been charged on Magnetic Island for the alleged sexual assault of a child.

Information regarding the alleged assault has been very limited, as the matter is now before the courts and to protect the identity of the child, but Senior Sargent Kerry Kraut told Magnetic Times, “Police received a complaint in relation to an alleged sexual assault on a child. The investigation was handled by the Townsville Child Protection Investigation Unit and, as a consequence, a 30 year old man has been charged with alleged sexual assault of a child and the matter is currently before the courts.”

The incident occurred in “mid September” according to Sargent Kraut.

While child-related sexual offences are cause for great concern they are not uncommon in the wider Australian community.

To assist readers to understand how best they might deal with situations where such incidents may be occurring or about to occur we have reproduced some information from the Queensland Government's Department of Child Safety Services website. (read here)

What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult, more powerful child or adolescent uses his or her power to involve a child in sexual activity.
Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional and can include:
*kissing or holding a child in a sexual manner
*'flashing' or exposing a sexual body part to a child
*speaking to children about sexual matters
*making obscene phone calls or remarks to a child or young person
*sending obscene emails or text messages to a child or young person
*fondling a child or young person's body in a sexual manner
*persistent intrusion of a child's privacy
*penetration of the vagina or anus either by the penis, finger or any other object
*oral sex
*showing pornographic films, magazines or photographs to a child
*having a child pose or perform in a sexual manner
*forcing a child to watch a sexual act
*child prostitution

Facts about child sexual abuse
The exact figures for child sexual abuse are unknown.

Most abuse is commmitted by someone the victim knows and trusts.

People who sexually abuse children come from all walks of life. They can be male or female.

Most child sex offending occurs within or close to the child's home.

Sexual abuse can affect children for the rest of their lives.

Signs of child sexual abuse
Children will often say things, do things or exhibit physical signs that are clues to sexual abuse, even if they do not disclose the fact.

Some indicators of child sexual abuse include:
*displaying greater sexual knowledge than normally expected for their age
*playing sex games and being more preoccupied with sex talk and sex games than other children
*excessive masturbation or masturbation in public after kindergarten age
*drawing the sexual parts of bodies
*being afraid or upset when people talk about their bodies or sex
*running away
*destroying property
*hurting or mutilating animals
*creating stories, poems or artwork about the abuse
*difficulty with concentrating and being withdrawn or overly obedient
*having unexpected redness, soreness or injury around the penis, vagina, mouth or anus
*having torn, stained or bloody clothing, especially underwear.

Should any of the above be present, a child may need parents or other adults to keep them safe from further harm.

Protecting children from child sexual abuse
*Be suspicious if an adult wants to spend time alone with your child.
*Be wary of people who are overly affectionate or generous with gifts to your child.
*Be careful about the company your children keep. Watch children's behaviour for signs of stress - their reactions to certain individuals may be telling you something.
*Teach children about being safe in a way that does not frighten them.
*Teach children that parts of their bodies covered by underwear are private.
*Encourage children to tell someone they trust if anyone tries to touch their private parts.
*Teach children never to keep secrets that make them feel uncomfortable or bad, or if someone asks them to keep secrets about touching their private parts.
*Carefully consider who else you might want the children to tell if you are not available.
*Speak to children who are under school age about personal safety in simple language and repeat the same rules often. Play 'what if' games to reinforce the message.
*Teach children of primary school age basic family safety rules and how to apply them in potentially dangerous situations.
*Assist adolescents to think independently and to develop the skills of decision making and assertiveness.
*Know who is supervising your children when they are away from home.
*Listen to your children and trust what they say, even if it shocks you. Children rarely make up stories about sexual abuse.

Because you cannot be with them all the time
You have a right to know your children are safe. Ask organisations about their policies, activities and who is looking after your children.
*People who work with children have an obligation to keep them safe.
*Most adults who work with children must have a blue card from the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.
*Organisations should have written policies available to read showing how they respond to child sexual abuse allegations.
*Organisations must provide activities that are suited to the developmental stage of the children involved.
*Organisations must supervise all children in their care.

Where to get help
If you would like further details on child sexual abuse, a 36-page information booklet - Child sexual abuse - things you need to know is available online (click here) or in most child safety service centres.

If you have reason to suspect a child is experiencing harm, report suspected child abuse immediately to the Department of Child Safety or Queensland Police Service.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Child sexual assault confirmed
October 6th 2009
It is shocking to know that there are child sex offenders on the island. So, without causing a witch-hunt scenario, we, as a caring community, have to be able to be informed enough to be able to protect our children from people who obviously need Help. I do understand that "known sex offenders" need to live in someone's community but in my opinion they have to be willing & participate in some form of therapy, if they are running around free. This incident will change what we love about the island, the freedom of the children to be innocent playing at the markets and the beaches etc. They will be getting "locked up" while people with bad intentions are not. I am working with the children to keep them informed and their self-defences up enough to protect themselves- but there needs to be more done to treat the perpetrators, who have been victims in their own childhoods. We all need to be more switched on and supervise our children better and increase the open communication with them so we know who they spent time with.Take care Tatjana
Sylvia Hayes
October 7th 2009
I am totally impressed with the further information you have supplied relating to child sexual abuse.Speaking as a former teacher, I taught lessons on this subject to children in my care, and it was not always easy! This information is in plain language, relevant and easy to understand. All parents and carers of children would thank you.
October 7th 2009
I have always thought people were a bit niave on the island in regard to thinking that we were protected from child sexual assult. The thing is that the perpertrator I understand is usually someone known to the family. Hard to say what the answer is really except - I believe there is a program for children explaining "good touching" & "bad touching" this could be a starting point. Palm Island school had some success with this a few years ago. Horrible subject BUT certainly needs discussion not a witch hunt on anyone who may "look like a paedophile". There is no one "look".
Emma Davies
October 8th 2009
The issue of Child protection is a community issue and requires a collaborative approach across all levels to protect our children who are often without a voice. Having worked in the area of child protection I have witnessed the immediate and long term affects of sexual abuse on children. Awareness, vigilance and communication stand out to me as the key corner stones to managing and responding to the issue. As a parent I have begun incorporating protective behaviour themes as part of the social skills I teach my children. The prevention and elimination of sexual assault is the responsibility of the entire community. What is not appropriate is divisiveness and the apportioning of blame and anger in our community. The appropriate response is positive actions to move towards the reduction and possible elimination against all behaviours that harm or endanger any individual. Remembering, that all victims of sexual assault have the right to be believed, treated with dignity and have their confidentiality and privacy maintained.
October 8th 2009
i am allmost 14 and i have lived on the island my whole life, and for all those years i have had no concerns about being sexualy assulted but this made me think twice. I dont want to walk the dog by my self anymore! I feel so sorry for the person who has been sexualy assulted and i want to no who it is because there is a 99% chance i know them:(and i think the police need to give more infomation!!! like what bay!!!
October 9th 2009
Well, I saw a man acting VERY inappropriately several times on a beach on the island, a few times he was doing this IN FRONT OF CHILDREN.
I was horrified by his behaviour. I reported him SEVERAL times to the police, with accurate description of his appearance and they did nothing.... so, why do we always have to wait until some poor child has been physically assaulted until the Police stand up and take notice?

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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