Shred of good news in a sad story

THE single pleasing aspect of the Aurukun Nine case is that the pediatric surgeon who has been treating the victim, now aged 13, reports that she is ``doing well'', with restored health, and is living in safety with a family away from the Aurukun community.
She is going to school, has made new friends, and is living as ``normal'' a life as could be expected.
Yesterday's Court of Appeal decision is proper justice in that it gave appropriate sentences containing a deterrent that won't be missed by Aurukun youth.
It tells them, at last, that it is wrong to rape 10-year-old girls. And if you engage in that conduct, you will go to jail for a long time.
Pretty simple message, easily understood.
As much as the court process that first dealt with these accused was a disgrace, much worse was the fact that Department of Child Safety officers knew this innocent, defenceless child was being systematically raped in Aurukun, but did nothing. They did not even carry out their statutory duty to report it to police.
Yet those officers have remained in the department, and have even been promoted.
This little girl was let down by a lot of people: her own community; members of her own family; the men in the community who used her and passed her around like a piece of meat.
But mostly she was let down by those in the bureaucracy whose specific job it was to protect her.
A woman in the department, told by a doctor that this young girl had contracted gonorrhoea, did not pass on the information to police because, she said, she was checking to see if there was any other means of contracting the disease. That is the standard of person the Queensland Government appoints to this most important of responsibilities.
There is a lot about this whole saga for which many of us should harbour great shame.
The only creditable conduct was that of doctors who examined this child and the police from the Cairns Child Protection Investigation Unit who refused to be deterred from putting a stop to the systematic rapes and the subsequent neglect and cover-up by specific public servants.
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