According to poll results shared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1 in 30 respondents had been sexually abused by a family member before they were 15. Children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse and least prepared to deal with the suffering it causes. The case that follows exemplifies this sad truth.
Background of the case
The offender formed a relationship with the victim while he was living at her foster parent’s (the victim’s grandfather and his wife) Rydalmere home between September 2013 and June 2014. As cousin to the foster mother, the offender is indirectly related to the victim. The two developed a friendship on their mutual interest in guitars.
Each of the five counts of abuse on which the offender was indicted took place between January and July of 2015. In the first two episodes, the victim kissed the offender and encouraged him to have intercourse with her, which he eventually agreed to. During this time, the victim revealed to the offender that she had been sexually abused by her grandfather from age 7. The offender suggested she tell police about the abuse and did, in fact, tell police himself.
The two had intercourse on several more occasions and in December 2015 the victim shared the details of the offender’s abuse to her foster parents and her then boyfriend.
Sentencing and aftermath of the case
The offender’s reaction to the details of the grandfather’s abuse revealed to the court his understanding of the serious immorality of his own actions. Furthermore, because they had intercourse at the time of the revelation, the offender showed that he had taken advantage of her while she was in a vulnerable state. This casted doubt on the defense’s belief that the offender’s depression and anxiety challenged his ability to make informed moral decisions.
The victim experiences trauma and requires continuing psychological treatment as a result of the abuse.
On 22 November, 2019 the court sentenced the offender to 8 years, 9 months imprisonment.
At Gerard Malouf and Partners, we understand that sharing sexual abuse is never easy. We approach such cases, above all, with care and concern for victims and we want to ensure that they receive justice and are well compensated for the pain they have suffered. Get in touch with an expert partner today.