Judge orders girl must be told father is a paedophile
A judge has ordered that a five-year-old girl be told her father is a paedophile as soon as she is deemed old enough.
The move is designed to help the girl understand Queensland Justice Peter Murphy's ruling to ban her father from
having any unsupervised contact with his daughter.
The Family Court in Brisbane was told the girl, whose mother was a teenage runaway, had been living with three
registered paedophiles, including her own father, his uncle and another man before child safety authorities removed her.
Her father had been sexually abused by his father, who the court was told had killed himself in front of his
son before his own sex trial reached court.
Justice Murphy said it was necessary to make the unusual order to protect the girl, who now lives her mother,
because "much might happen" in her life that may require more "intervention".
He said the Independent Children's Lawyer had recommended a professional be the one to tell her, and ordered a
counsellor from child and youth mental health services should explain to the girl in "child-appropriate language"
why she is not to have unsupervised contact with her father.
"In light of the age of the mother and the father's history and the journey that she has already undertaken, it is
plainly in her interest," Justice Murphy said.
"(The girl) is yet very young, the journey for her already has been somewhat difficult and much might yet happen
in this young child's life that may need intervention."
But Centre for Human Potential principal psychologist Paul Martin said telling the girl at any point in her childhood
would have a significant psychological impact.
"She would have no way of processing the information and it would create a mistrust of that parent and any adult," he said.
Child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston said the order should be applauded as long as the timing was "age appropriate" for the girl.
"She is going to know there is something wrong and will be asking questions herself," Ms Johnston said.
The judge refused to put a "sunset clause" on a "no unsupervised contact order" against the girl's father, who will
only be allowed to meet with her for two hours a month at a contact centre.
He said the father showed "significant risk factors", including denial of his own sexual offending.
The girl's parents met after his release from a youth detention centre for sex offences committed while he was a
child. They lived together with their daughter, his uncle and another "known paedophile" before the Department of Child
Services removed the girl.
The Courier-Mail (13-6-2012)