AS I pored over the victim impact statements of two of the young girls abused by their stepfather (p1) it was devastating to read about just how much their lives have been shattered.
At a time when they should be enjoying the carefree joy that comes with childhood, these girls were violated, betrayed and broken.
The effects of sexual abuse in childhood can be debilitating.
As highlighted in this case, it can spark mental issues like depression and anxiety and thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
These girls have had their lives turned upside down.
They kept the secret out of fear for their mum and their sisters, and will forever be forced to live with what happened to them.
They are each also tortured to know it happened to their sisters, whom they adore.
The sexual abuse of children is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed.
Children are trusting and innocent and have the right to an upbringing free of such violation.
Any predator who thinks their sexual desire trumps a child's right to safety and a youth free from abuse should be treated with the most severe punishments in our legal system.
This is a crime that destroys lives. There is no easy fix and the scars often last a lifetime.
I hope these girls, who have written about their experience with such wisdom and eloquence, are able to overcome the repugnant and completely unfair treatment they have been forced to endure.
Kerri Moore, editor