THE mother of a five-year-old boy allegedly raped by a teenage family friend in Warwick has spoken of the heartache that has gripped their family every day since.
This is her story:
"Since events took place in our son's life things have changed for us and will never be the same again.
"Until your life takes a turn for the worst when you least expect it to, I don't think anyone can realise how devastating it can be to be involved in such a traumatic experience.
"I've since learned the shocking statistic that one in every six boys and one in four girls will be sexually abused by the time they are 18. Even more shocking to the core is that the higher percentage of those statistics involve children under the age of 12.
"We are one of many.
"Sexual abuse and child molestation is not something we talk about around the dinner table or over a coffee with friends.
"It's a sickening, upsetting, awkward topic of conversation. Rightly so it should be.
"So we tend not to talk about it. It's silenced.
"The silence continues when pedophiles' identities are protected.
"From talking to other victims and support groups I've learned that we must not remain silent on these issues. Silence and ignorance are two words that sit close together.
"I can now understand people taking the law into their own hands.
"It crossed my mind, even before the police let us down. You are your child's protector, your first instinct is to defend, after the shock sets in that this really did happen, you want justice.
"Justice that no jail could ever serve.
"The feelings that come over you when your child is attacked are like 100 bad emotions at once; they are all there: sadness, grief, anger, hate, devastation, bewilderment, shock, betrayal, fear, worry... the list goes on.
"It's so overwhelming it makes you want to faint, it's hard to breathe, hard to think and I'm a fairly strong person emotionally. I believed we had a justice system, that justice would be served. I had always had faith in the system. Then I learned how wrong it all was.
"I learned how the system was failing Australian society and the whole world from police, to courts, to probation.
"That pedophiles really were more protected than victims.
"We were told how hard it would be to get a conviction, I understood that, that the perpetrator would more than likely deny what he had done to my son. Did that mean though, that we should give up?
"When my son is older and has more understanding of what happened to him, I have this fear of the questions, 'Mummy what did YOU do? What happened? Was he charged? Did he go to jail?'
"I certainly wasn't going to answer 'I let him walk away without doing anything. I pretended it didn't happen, I didn't do anything'.
"I had two choices, my first instinct was to take the law into my own hands, then I thought to myself 'I can't be a good mother from jail'.
"So my second choice was to go to the police let them deal with it. Let justice be served.
"I couldn't believe on the one hand the police had told me 'this is a very serious matter' then the other, 'just give up'. I wasn't going to let that happen.
"Ten years from now I knew my son would have questions I had to answer.
"Children don't forget something that traumatic, even if they suppress it, something can trigger it later in life. It's always there. All you can do is hope to get through it the best you can and hope to heal the scars.
"Through our devastating journey we have had the support of family, of friends, work colleagues and most of all my son's teachers that I will be forever grateful for.
"Still, it's a never ending road, there will always be bumps no matter how hard we work to try and smooth our path.
"We have chosen to leave town so my son doesn't have to face his abuser, at the shops, at the park or down the street. So my son doesn't have to re-live the constant visions he has in our house.
"After our guests left our house that day, our friends of many years, the first thing my son said to me was 'I never want to see him again' and it's a promise I will uphold.
"To be let down by the police force was without a doubt a blow to the faith I once had in the system that was designed to protect us, honour us, serve us.
"It was the hardest thing in the world to leave my son alone with two strangers, even though they were police, to have to tell his story, to relive those horrific moments.
"Then to have all that not be acted upon. To have to go to the CMC to have the police act.
"Then to be one in a million and have the perpetrator admit to his crime.
"I hope this has taught the police a lesson, not to give up.
"I also hope that by telling our story other parents can find strength to pursue.
"I've followed stories on social media and the recent high profile cases, and there seems to be a common story: parents have to fight for justice and they have to be persistent.
"They have to be their child's voice."
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