Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Low Expectations Down Under

And even then, the behavior is appalling:
Indigenous leader Noel Pearson says authorities should not hesitate to remove abused children from their communities amid national and international condemnation over the gang rape of 10-year-old girl in Aurukun [North Australia].

....Queensland Crown prosecutor Steve Carter has now been stood down pending an investigation into his handling of the case.

Mr Carter said the case where a 10-year-old girl was raped by nine men involved what he described as consensual sex in a non-legal manner and he called those involved "very naughty".

He did not recommend any of the perpetrators, aged from their teens to 26, to face jail.

Lest anyone think the above is an aberration:
Aboriginal leader and lawyer Mr Pearson, who comes from Cape York, has long argued passive welfare is to blame for a complete breakdown in social norms in Indigenous communities

...."This is the tip of a tragic iceberg and it's a problem that has been going on for a long time," he said.

"It's a problem that we've been trying to highlight for a long time now and it's a problem that is not disappearing.

"There's nothing that we are currently doing that is decisively avoiding this kind of tragedy."

...."We will get 80 cases reported month - 30 are substantiated and this is an average monthly reporting level for child protection."

...."It's a crisis that the State Government has attempted to respond to through its new child safety system and through alcohol limitations and so on, but it's not a crisis that we are on top of," he said.

....He says part of the answer is to remove the children at risk.

"It's the immediate answer, absolutely," he said.

....He says he has absolutely no doubt the perpetrators of the gang rape, some of them only teenagers, should have gone to jail.

"There is absolutely no justification for leniency," he said.

"In fact, part of the whole breakdown, the social and cultural breakdown that we see in our communities is the consequence of courts taking into account the historical and social background of Aboriginal offenders.

"In the past 30 years there's been a tendency for the judicial system to take into account this cultural and historical background of Aboriginal offenders and therefore resulting in leniency, when in fact the imperative has all along been to make sure that social norms are observed and maintained in communities.

"If we want to diminish in the long term the number of Aboriginal people in prison, we have got to have low tolerance of anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour.

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