Trauma blamed for raped teen’s crimes

A CRIME rampage by a teenage girl from the Aurukun Aboriginal community on Cape York who was gang-raped as a 10-year-old was typical of severe post-traumatic stress, according to her pediatrician.

The doctor told The Australian yesterday that the girl, now aged 14 years and 10 months, was one of the most severely traumatised children he had encountered.

“Jails are full of these kids,” said the pediatrician, who asked not to be named.

“There is no facility for them, and it is no good just putting them with carers or in motels — it doesn’t work. We desperately need somewhere where these youngsters can be kept where they feel safe and where they can learn some social skills and what is normal behaviour, and where they have something to do — like a farm, for instance.”

In 2007, The Australian revealed that the girl had been repeatedly raped over a long period, including being gang-raped, and nine men and boys had pleaded guilty to raping her but had not been sentenced to imprisonment.

The outcry led to an appeal from the Attorney-General, which was successful, and the nine were re-sentenced, with most sent to jail for up to six years.

The victim has been fighting her demons ever since, and despite being put with more than 12 different carers, has periods of uncontrollable violence.

In Cairns on Tuesday she pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted robbery while armed with a pair of scissors, two of wilful damage, assault, stealing and motor vehicle offences.

District Court judge Bill Everson said the girl’s last year had been spent in detention, awaiting sentence, and she had progressed remarkably, and for that reason he was anxious about releasing her back into the community.

He sentenced her to 15 months’ jail with time served, meaning she would be released immediately.

All the offences related to a violent episode where she attacked her 54-year-old residential care support worker.

The teenager is again being supervised by Child Safety Services.

In sentencing, Judge Everson said: “You have had a particularly tragic life. You were found to be suffering from a sexually transmitted disease at three years and again at six years, and at 10 years of age you were the victim of a number of prominent sexual offences committed at Aurukun.

“You are a very angry person, and you act out physically and have poor impulse control.”

The judge said he was imposing a sentence that would help the girl’s rehabilitation, but was a deterrent to others.

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