News

Derryn Hinch throws his weight behind Warwick family

JAILED twice for revealing the criminal history of sex offenders, including that of a pedophile priest, Derryn Hinch isn't one to keep quiet on the serious issue.

So when he read the story on the five-year-old boy allegedly sexually abused by a teenage family friend in last week's Daily News, he was compelled to tell all his supporters about it.

"One of the reasons that child sex abuse victims don't come forward is that they don't think anybody will believe them," Derryn wrote on his official website and Facebook page, which has 5000 friends and 3500 followers.

He goes on to say, "but imagine the anger and frustration and sense of betrayal when a child does come forward and his or her parents do go to police and nothing happens".

"Such a case crossed my desk over the weekend... you can feel a father's pain leaping off the page.

"It involves the alleged rape of a five-year-old boy by the 15-year-old son of family friends in the town of Warwick.

"Under scrutiny is the Child Protection Unit at the Warwick police station. Some of the details have been aired in the Warwick Daily News."

Mr Hinch spoke to the Daily News this week, explaining why he felt so strongly about this little boy's ordeal.

"The case wasn't taken seriously by the police early enough," he said.

"The parents have been told by authorities it's under control but the alleged rapist wasn't interviewed for some time."

But the journalist and former radio host - dubbed 'the human headline' - is adamant he is "not a cop basher".

"The cops have a tough job, but in a time like this for the family, the most awful nightmare has hit them and they're doing their damnedest for their little boy," he told the Daily News.

"He would think 'mummy and daddy are doing their best for me' but in the end nothing much is being done."

Mr Hinch said there was one line in particular of the Daily News story which hit a nerve.

"The line that hurt, where the police detective (allegedly) says don't report it, he'll forget about it in time," he said.

"The police have gone through the system and police say they have done nothing wrong. Yet the alleged rapist is walking around, not getting anything. If the allegations are true and police say he's confessed, what happens down the track when another innocent life will be affected?"

He maintains that children do not report sexual abuse because they think they won't be believed.

"This is a classic case, this little boy, how does his mum and dad explain (what's happened to him) is bad, but not that bad."

When asked if he would keep pursuing the issue on behalf of sexual abuse victims, the answer was yes.

"I went to jail in 1987 for identifying a pedophile priest, that's more than 25 years ago, but that hasn't stopped me. I've been under house arrest and sent to jail twice," Mr Hinch said.

"The law is changing in regard to suppression orders."

Jail 2 Justice Walk

On May 17, Mr Hinch is doing a Jail to Justice Walk in Victoria, starting from the jail in which he served a 50-day sentence in January.

"The 180km walk over 10 days will also include walking down the road where Jill Meagher was killed," he said.

"It will not only highlight a petition for a national public register of convicted sex offenders which has 110,000 signatures but it's also a tribute to families of victims like the Morcombes.

"People can join me along the way and I'm hoping in the last kilometre I'll present a petition to the Victorian premier and Bruce Morcombe will join in the last little bit of walking."

He is hopeful the walk will put the issue into the spotlight to make Australia a safer place to live with sex offenders behind bars.

"I just hope it'll keep the judges' and magistrates' and politicians' feet to the fire to know we're still here.

"I haven't seen such a public reaction to what (Brett Peter) Cowan did before he killed Daniel. He should never have been out.

"'Give them the benefit of the doubt of rehab' is crap. A little boy has lost his life because of it."

Meanwhile, the mother of the five-year-old boy from Warwick reached out to Derryn, thanking him for highlighting her son's story.

"In Australia we are lucky to have the voice of Derryn Hinch fighting for us, for our children and for victims' rights," she said.

"I cannot thank Derryn enough. He has fought for so many years to shine a light on such a dark subject that's too often swept under the carpet and hidden.

"We must fight for a public offender register; it's much more than just a list to name and shame pedophiles, it's a tool to protect our children."

She said the register would help in identifying who parents cannot trust with their children including neighbours, teachers, babysitters or potential partners.

"It won't stop offences but it may help to deter them. Most of all it will help stop reoffenders, it will help take those opportunities away from pedophiles," the mum said.

"The scary facts are one pedophile has many victims, usually not one or two but 10, 20, 50 or 100.

"There are 4500 registered pedophiles in Queensland alone and it's scary to think how many are not registered."

She wondered how many had never been caught.

"We need to take every step we possibly can to protect children, if it only saves one child from harm then it has done its job," she said.

"We have to get behind Derryn's fight from jail to justice. The next child a register saves may be your child, your grandchild, your niece, your nephew, your friend's or neighbour's child. I can't say sign sign sign enough! You don't realise how important it is until it happens to someone close to you."

Sign the petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/protect-our-children3 or find the link via http://www.humanheadline.com.au

Topics:  crime, derryn hinch, editors picks, police, rape, sexual abuse



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