Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Sex Abuse Victims Hailed for Breaking Their Silence

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Sex Abuse Victims Hailed for Breaking Their Silence

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Owen

TWO sisters, whose uncle sexually abused them when they were young girls, have expressed their disapointment with the justice system after the man was convicted of the crimes and set free.

The uncle, who we have not named to protect the identity of the women, pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 when he appeared in Ipswich District Court this week.

The sexual abuse began more than 30 years ago, when the uncle was 17 and the girls as young as five.

The uncle forced the girls to perform multiple sexual acts on him. The offending persisted for at least six years - from 1976 to 1982.

For more than three decades, the sisters kept the abuse a secret.

It was only last year that they decided to take action and have their uncle punished for what he did.

However, the kind of justice the sisters were hoping for never came, with their uncle placed on a two-year suspended sentence and allowed to walk free.

Speaking after the sentencing, one of the victims described the verdict as "not fair".

"It's taken us so long to finally find the courage to come forward, and now he's essentially got away with it," she said. "My sister and I decided to come forward to try and give others, who have suffered the same type of abuse as we did, the strength to do the same.

"There are so many other victims of sexual abuse out there.

"This kind of outcome is exactly why those people stay silent though. Why go through the anguish of having to relive those traumatising events when this is the outcome?"

Earlier, the sisters had read their victim impact statements aloud in court.

"At the age of four, my childhood was taken from me when I became a victim of sexual abuse," one of the sisters said. "It was impossible for me to grow from a child to an adult feeling safe and happy. …

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