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Title Four Corners: Dangerous Territory
Published Australia : ABC, 2010
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Description 1 streaming video file (45 min. 19 sec.) ; 272210505 bytes
Summary A harrowing investigation into the deaths of two children who authorities knew were at risk, but failed to protect.Australia has an elaborate system of laws and child protection agencies that are meant to shield children from abuse and violence. Right now that system is in crisis. In city after city, state after state, it's clear the system is not doing its job. This week reporter Quentin McDermott investigates the death of two young Australians. What he finds will horrify you.Her name was Deborah. The daughter of teenage parents with a history of domestic violence and alcohol abuse. To protect the young girl, child protection officers handed her over to a relative so she could be cared for within her extended family.There was just one problem. The carer chosen to look after Deborah had not been thoroughly investigated by authorities. Had that investigation taken place it would have revealed that she had already lost one child in a drowning accident."I think they should have. I think if you are going to put children into someone's care there should be complete background checks on them." - Former Police officerMore significantly, proper scrutiny would have revealed that the carer had a major gambling problem, spending significant amounts of time away from home at a local casino.Eye witnesses to the situation revealed to Four Corners the terrible conditions where Deborah lived:"I was just appalled to think that the Department can place children in this type of environment."The state of the house wasn't the only concern for the young woman; another adult male living there had already been charged with sexual assault.Over seven years, the Department, through its case workers, received multiple notifications raising serious concerns about Deborah's care. Nothing was done. Finally, it seems the only thing that forced authorities to investigate the treatment of the child properly was her death. Suffering from an abscess on her leg, the child's worsening condition was ignored by her carer.Deborah received no medical treatment, and instead, like a dog, she was taken out into the back yard and left to die.As the Ombudsman said about the Government Department that was meant to protect Deborah:"They didn't assess the circumstances under which she was living...they didn't visit every couple of months...they didn't respond to reports from neighbours and when they visited her the day before she died, they didn't recognise that here was a girl in severe pain with nearly a litre of pus in her leg."Deborah's case is horrific but - as Four Corners discovered - it is not isolated. A series of major investigations across the country have shown a range of situations in which authorities fail to adequately protect children in care.The question is: how can this be allowed to happen in modern day Australia?
Notes Closed captioning in English
Event Broadcast 2010-11-08 at 20:30:00
Notes Classification: NC
Subject Child welfare -- Law and legislation.
Child welfare -- Management.
Children -- Death.
Children -- Legal status, laws, etc.
Victims of family violence -- Protection.
Form Streaming video
Author Bamblett, Muriel, contributor
Bath, Howard, contributor
Carney, Jodeen, contributor
Donald, Terence, contributor
Henderson, Paul, contributor
Hunter, Natalie, contributor
Lade, Anne, contributor
Mansfield, Susan, contributor
McDermott, Quentin, reporter
Melville, Colleen, contributor
O'Brien, Kerry, host
Richards, Carolyn, contributor
Scott, Maxine, contributor
Sharwood, Peter, contributor
White, Ricky, contributor