CARL – or the Chikd Abuse Report Line; is vastly under resources and underfunded. The way in which mandated notifier s report abuse, needs a drastic overhaul- and it cannot come soon enough.
In my capacity as a Registered Nurse, I’ve made countless reports to CARL, and it’s always a challenging process. Usually I need to lock myself away in the nurses station because I’m anticipating a considerable wait – sometimes up to 2 hours. But the number of reports I’ve done, is nothing compared to the number of notifiable incidents or suspicions that are reported, or should be reported in the APY Lands. Teachers on the lands have told me that they have waited up to 3 hours to make a single report. And it’s an unreasonable expectation that staff should make reports in their own time. Understandably, many events that would otherwise go reported, are pushed aside until teachers have time, and then forgotten; and not reported. This contributes to the ignorance of the gravity of the atrocities occurring on the APY by management and ministry. Worse still, there is an entrenched culture of acceptance of sexualised behaviour – things that should be reported, are not. And that’s a big problem. Having spoken with child protection staff, they reveal that many reports go unread and not acted upon, because there is only so much they can do with limited time, funding and resources. You can’t help but understand why teaching staff, armed with the knowledge that their report may never be read, might choose not to spend 3 hours on the phone to CARL reporting it. Because what’s the point?
There is a teacher on the APY lands who probably should not be there. This teacher was allegedly witnessed by another staff member to be physically abusing Anangu children in his capacity at the school. This was reported and seemingly ignored. Furthermore, it has been alleged by senior service providers outside of the school, that somewhere in the order of 96 mandatory reports have been made about this man and the harming of Anangu children. Many of these reports were made by CAHMS workers themselves. Reports were also made on behalf of Anangu families, whose children had been harmed by this man. Rather than this man being removed from the classroom and the APY lands, he has just been awarded a 5 year contract as a permanent relief teacher, where he has less accountability and more capacity to abuse. CAHMS workers in his current schools have allegedly been told to “watch him”
I wonder if the CARL had appropriate funding and resources, if this would have been addressed. How many children have we failed?
How many more tjiitjii need to be abused before we act?