Children in care raped, bashed – report

CHILDREN in Victoria’s out-of-home care system are being raped, bashed and are prostituting themselves, a report reveals.

Some children are placed temporarily in motels and caravans as the system struggles to meet demand for places.

Ombudsman George Brouwer tabled an “own motion” report to state parliament today, after an investigation uncovered many cases of abuse and neglect in out-of-home care.

Children removed from their parents are placed in the care of a family member or friend, called kinship care, or they may go into foster care or residential care, in which they live in small-scale group accommodation and are cared for by paid staff.

Mr Brouwer found cases of abuse that included children who had been physically and sexually assaulted by foster and kinship carers, some who had had limbs broken or had been knocked unconscious by residential carers, and children being raped by other children.

Children had also been prostituting themselves after being placed with adult `friends’ who engaged them in sexual acts, and had made allegations of carers selling drugs to children in residential care units, he said.

Recommendations Mr Brouwer made to government five years ago have been ignored in many cases, he said, and abuse could have been avoided had there been adequate carer screening.

“Further harm may have been avoided if adequate screening and assessment of carers had occurred,” he said in his report.

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