Teenage girl sues over sexual abuse
By Gemma Jones | June 09, 2009
Article from: The Daily Telegraph
A TEENAGER from New South Wales has told of the months of sexual abuse she suffered in a foster carer's home - the third DOCS sex abuse case to be revealed in two weeks.
Amid calls for tougher scrutiny of foster carers, the now 19-year-old is taking her case against the department to the High Court.
She is trying to prove DOCS has the same legal responsibilities as a parent to protect a child, in the hope it will help others.
The university student was sexually abused by the nephew of her foster father and had been unhappy in her foster home in the state's Far North, but she said DOCS forced her to return.
She finally worked up the courage to tell her brother about the sexual abuse four years ago and he told a case worker. DOCS notified police and the man was charged with sexual assault and convicted.
"The idea of being in foster care is that it is a placement where you should be safe, especially if you are a child who comes from an abusive background like I have. You want to know things like that won't continue," the girl said yesterday.
"I just feel that they try to deny stuff, they pretend that they weren't the ones at fault."
The girl, who cannot be named, is now studying human services at university and wants to make a career out of protecting children.
Opposition community services spokeswoman Pru Goward said scrutiny of those caring for DOCS children should be stronger because they were the most vulnerable.
"The process and protocols for assessing whether a person is fit to be a foster carer and whether they have a history of child sexual abuse need reviewing because they are not picking up these cases," she said.
"I think you have to assume these children are at a higher risk of being abused than other children because of their vulnerability, they don't have parents to advocate for them."
Last week it was revealed 18-year-old Mark Robinson was placed by DOCS with a pervert who sexually abused him before a police check revealed the carer's dark past.
In the latest case, DOCS said it informed a specialist police unit set up to help child sex abuse victims.
"DOCS provided support and counselling to this teenager at the time and supported her as she left care," a DOCS spokeswoman said.
Teenage girl sues over sexual abuse | The Australian