SOFT ON CHILD KILLERS

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JACK McKAY CHRISTO­PHER HONNERY

PENAL­TIES for child killers in Queens­land are be­ing la­belled “a soft cop out”, as new sta­tis­tics re­veal shock­ing num­bers of de­fence­less young chil­dren are re­ported to be vic­tims of mur­der or man­slaugh­ter ev­ery year.

Since 2012, as least 24 ba­bies and tod­dlers ( un­der the age of four) have been re­ported to po­lice as vic­tims of mur­der or man­slaugh­ter.

The fig­ures come amid re­newed calls for a Royal Com­mis­sion into child pro­tec­tion and for spe­cial sen­tenc­ing pro­vi­sions that would al­low judges to im­pose tougher sen­tences on child killers.

Child safety ad­vo­cate and Brave­hearts founder Hetty John­ston was not sur­prised by the fig­ures, but re­mained hor­ri­fied at the num­ber of chil­dren killed in Queens­land.

She made a re­newed plea for a Royal Com­mis­sion into the fam­ily law sys­tem and de­scribed it as “car­nage”.

“We can’t con­tinue to tinker at the edges of what is a to­tally bro­ken sys­tem,” she said.

Ms John­ston said it was time for the coun­try’s politi­cians to set pol­i­tics aside and in­sisted a Royal Com­mis­sion was the “only le­gal in­stru­ment ca­pa­ble of get­ting to the truth”.

“You can­not fix some­thing un­less you know where it’s bro­ken,” she said.

Daniel Mor­combe Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Holly Bren­nan said the num­ber of child vic­tims was “too high”.

“It’s quite shock­ing how young some of these chil­dren are,” she said.

“We cer­tainly ad­vo­cate for any laws that re­spond to the needs of the fam­i­lies who are left be­hind, but we would rather pre­vent.”

A spokes­woman for At­tor­ney- Gen­eral Yvette D’ath said the gov­ern­ment recog­nised that vi­o­lent acts against chil­dren were de­plorable.

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