‘Horrifying’: Alarm over NSW’s child protection failures

A scathing report has found the NSW government is failing to meet any of its child protection responsibilities, with children cycling through temporary and emergency accommodation and the department not properly responding to serious allegations of abuse.

The NSW Ombudsman’s report, which has been labelled as “horrifying” by child welfare advocates, is the fourth damning report in as many months into the Department of Communities and Justice’s child protection services.

The Ombudsman found 75 per cent of children reported to be at risk of harm were not visited by a caseworker, prompting the watchdog to launch a maladministration investigation into the department’s response to these reports.

Department staff screen risk-of-harm reports to determine whether they meet a threshold of “significant harm”, which includes allegations of sexual abuse, serious physical abuse or serious neglect.

Just a quarter of children reported as at risk of significant harm received a face-to-face visit by a caseworker in 2022-23, down from 29 per cent in 2017-18, the Ombudsman found. Aboriginal children were four times more likely to be involved in risk of significant harm reports as non-Aboriginal children.

The report also found that one in three children had a substantiated allegation of abuse while in residential care.

The Ombudsman’s report, tabled in state parliament earlier this month, concluded that the department had failed to meet any of its core responsibilities of responding to harm reports, securing safe and permanent homes, and intervening early to prevent risk escalation.

The outcomes of the Ombudsman’s maladministration investigation will be presented to Washington and the department head. If steps are not taken to rectify the potential maladministration, the Ombudsman can make a follow-up report to parliament and require the minister to provide a public explanation.

Source: 12ft

Country Women’s Association of WA makes history in vote to allow men as members – ABC News

In short:

The Country Women’s Association of WA has voted to change its 100-year-old constitution and allow men to become associate members.

NSW, Tasmania, Victoria and the NT don’t allow men to be CWA members.

What’s next?

Men in WA will be able to apply for associate membership, which doesn’t allow for voting or individual branch membership.

—–

Following the vote, some members at the annual general meeting raised the issue of transgender women joining the association.

Ms Langdon said that while there was no specific provision in the constitution to recognise transgender women, they were welcome in the association, with some already members.

The vote means Western Australia is now the third state along with South Australia and Queensland to allow men into their ranks as non-voting members.

Queensland CWA president Sheila Campbell said the organisation had led the way by welcoming men and transgender women into the association since 2015 under a Friends of QCWA banner.

“Our association is open to all women, including transgender women, and men as non-voting Friends of QCWA,” she said.

A spokesperson for the CWA of Victoria said its branch did not have male members.

“We accept anyone who identifies as a woman to be a member,” they said.

[Ed: so very disappointing.]

Source: Country Women’s Association of WA makes history in vote to allow men as members – ABC News

Opinion | Why Is the U.S. Pretending to Know Gender-Affirming Care Works? – The New York Times

It’s been three months since the release of the Cass Review, an independent assessment of gender treatment for youths commissioned by England’s National Health Service.

After the release of Cass’s findings, the British government issued an emergency ban on puberty blockers for people under 18. Medical societies, government officials and legislative panels in Germany, France, Switzerland, Scotland, the Netherlands and Belgium have proposed moving away from a medical approach to gender issues, in some cases directly acknowledging the Cass Review. Scandinavian countries have been moving away from the gender-affirming model for the past few years. Reem Alsalem, the United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, called the review’s recommendations “seminal” and said that policies on gender treatments have “breached fundamental principles” of children’s human rights, with “devastating consequences.”

But in the United States, federal agencies and professional associations that have staunchly supported the gender-affirming care model greeted the Cass Review with silence or utter disregard.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an advocacy organization based in the United States whose standards of gender care are closely followed domestically, said Cass was not qualified to judge because she had not practiced gender medicine herself. (To ensure independence, the National Health Service chose Cass for precisely this reason.)
WPATH also said its own standards are “based on far more systematic reviews” than the Cass report. But four years ago, WPATH apparently blocked publication of a Johns Hopkins systematic review it had commissioned that also found scant evidence in favor of the gender-affirming approach. Recently released emails show that WPATH leaders told researchers that their work should “not negatively affect the provision of transgender health care in the broadest sense.”
In other words, the United States continues to put ideology ahead of science.
The Biden administration has essentially ceded the issue to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, incorporating gender-affirming protocols into Department of Health and Human Services policy. Moreover, recently revealed emails indicate that President Biden’s assistant secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, a pediatrician and transgender woman, successfully pushed WPATH to remove age requirements from its guidelines for gender medicine before their publication, because — mixing political and public health concerns — she thought supporters of gender treatment bans might cite them to show that the procedures are harmful. (WPATH’s draft guidelines had originally recommended age minimums of 14 for cross-sex hormones, 15 for mastectomies, 16 for breast augmentation or facial surgery and 17 for genital surgeries or hysterectomies.)
Republicans have in turn seized on transgender rights and medicine as a potent culture war issue. This makes it challenging for progressives, liberals and moderates to take any stand on gender issues that might be in line with a party that has become so associated with extreme positions.
Already the gender-affirmation model is taught in leading medical schools, and all the major professional medical organizations in the United States have officially embraced it in their guidelines, a fact often cited by advocates as evidence of their validity.
Given how entrenched the gender-affirmating model has become, reversing course won’t be easy. If the medical profession turns away from the notion that transitioning young people is necessary and lifesaving, it could open itself up to malpractice suits.
Despite the personal or professional costs to admitting its errors, it is time for people in the American medical and political establishments to open their minds and listen to those doctors who have fully examined the evidence.

Source: Opinion | Why Is the U.S. Pretending to Know Gender-Affirming Care Works? – The New York Times

Australia’s ‘What Is a Woman?’ Case: Tickle v Giggle | Reality’s Last Stand| Rachael Wong

A judge of the Federal Court of Australia is currently deliberating on Australia’s “what is a woman?” case: Tickle v Giggle. This is a pivotal moment for women’s rights in Australia as it will determine whether gender identity trumps biological sex under Australian sex discrimination law.

The case centers on a complaint made by a trans-identified male (i.e. a man who identifies as a woman, also known as a “transwoman”), Roxanne Tickle, against the women-only social networking app, Giggle for Girls. Tickle alleges that his exclusion from the app, which was created exclusively for women by its founder and CEO, Sall Grover, constitutes gender identity discrimination under Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SDA).

The case was heard in Sydney, Australia, from April 9 to 11, 2024, and the parties are currently awaiting the judge’s decision as of the publication date of this article.

On the first day of the three-day hearing, the presiding judicial officer, Bromwich J, stated that he would be interpreting and applying the law as it exists instead of what it should be.

This may ultimately require having to accept the arguments put forward by Tickle and the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner that gender identity trumps biological sex. This would mean that biological males identifying as women could not be denied access to female-only spaces. While absurd and irrational on its face, this decision would nevertheless align with the current version of the SDA.

It is likely that any judgment in favor of Tickle will be appealed to Australia’s High Court. This appeal would likely be based on a Constitutional argument that the Australian government overstepped its authority with the 2013 amendments to the SDA by exceeding the scope of CEDAW.

However, the simplest solution for the Australian government to address the current legislative uncertainty would be to repeal the 2013 amendments to the SDA and restore sex-based rights for women in Australia. Removing gender identity as a basis for discrimination in the SDA is not an act of “transphobia,” nor is it intended to harm or erase transgender individuals, as many activists assert. Rather, it is about about reinstating vital sex-based protections for women, acknowledging the immutable biological differences between males and females, and the inequalities stemming from those differences.

Source: Australia’s ‘What Is a Woman?’ Case: Tickle v Giggle

How child support works for me survey | Single Mother Families Australia

GET INVOLVED IN INDEPENDENT RESEARCH ON 

EXPERIENCES OF THE AUSTRALIAN CHILD SUPPORT SYSTEM

We are conducting a survey of single mothers’ and parents’ experiences of applying for and receiving child support, and how this has been affected by Government benefits and taxation systems.

Your involvement in the research will help to identify experiences of financial safety and how government policies and programs help or hinder financial safety.

We are looking for single mothers and parents who have interacted with the Australian Child Support System.

If you agree to take part in this research, please click through to this short online survey. It should take about 30 minutes to complete.

https://swinuw.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ebcWdEvZboNSd2m

The information you give will be completely anonymous, meaning it cannot be traced back to you. Your name will not be linked to anything you say as it will only be your responses to the questions which are used in the research.

If you would like more information about the survey, please contact Kay Cook at [email protected]

THANK YOU!

Source: Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management

Think hard – by Bernard Lane – Gender Clinic News

British paediatrician Hilary Cass has a warning for distressed girls considering testosterone: taking this powerful hormone will make it hard—in some ways harder than mastectomy—to pass as a woman if they end up regretting medicalised gender change.

Although gender clinics claim there is little treatment regret, the Cass report says: “The percentage of [young] people treated with hormones who subsequently detransition remains unknown due to the lack of long-term follow-up studies, although there is suggestion that numbers are increasing.”

Given the risks and unknowns, the report urges “an extremely cautious clinical approach” to any cross-sex hormone provision at age 16, when this intervention becomes available under some treatment guidelines. In Australia, younger girls are put on testosterone, which is meant to be taken lifelong.

The recording of the July 2 Cass webinar, hosted by Australia’s National Association of Practising Psychiatrists, is here.

At the Australian webinar, picking up a key theme of her report, Dr Cass stressed how important it was for transgender identifying youth—girls dominate the mostly teenage caseload of gender clinics—to keep their options open as long as possible during a period of development and change.

“I was speaking to a gay friend who said, ‘We’re not hung up on this. We present however we want to present in a more masculine, androgynous or feminine way. And we feel that we have more flexibility than some of the binary trans community where there’s real pressure to conform to an idealised male or female appearance’.”

Source: Think hard – by Bernard Lane – Gender Clinic News

Sydney businessman charged with sex crimes against 10 women in case ‘unlike any other’| SMH

A self-proclaimed “humanist venture capitalist” from Sydney’s north has been charged with dozens of rapes and sex crimes against 10 women after he allegedly paid for sex acts using bad cheques.

The case, which can only be revealed after this masthead won a legal bid over court officials who had blocked the release of public documents, will be a major test of “new territory” in NSW consent laws.

Court documents allege Mark Sarian, 35, sexually abused the women at Mascot, Rose Bay and in central Sydney between February and June.

Sarian allegedly organised to have sex with the women, sometimes two at a time and sometimes asking them to urinate on him, before giving them the worthless cheques.

Angla’s investigator, Detective Amy O’Neill, charged Sarian with 32 counts of sexual intercourse without consent, three counts of carrying out a sexual act without consent and two counts of sexual touching without consent.

The number of alleged victims and charges would make Sarian one of the most prolific rapists in Sydney if the charges are proven at trial – but legal minds are watching closely because the case will be a major test of new consent laws.

One of the lesser-known changes, “fraudulent inducement”, protects sex workers from clients who deceitfully promise money but then hand over an empty envelope or a dud cheque.

Magistrate Daniel Covington said he had never seen a matter like it.

“If [this new law] did not exist, the prosecution case would be problematic, to say the least, but the presence of that law clearly affects and increases the strength of the case,” Covington said.

Since his arrest, Sarian has been held on remand in prison and has not entered a plea.

His heavily pregnant wife watched from the public gallery.

The Downing Centre Local Court registrar had blocked the release of the documents last week because they contained details of serious sexual offences.

It is illegal to publish the names and identities of alleged victims of sexual crimes, and journalists can be prosecuted for breaching the law.

It is not illegal to release court documents to journalists, though the Downing Centre has a longstanding policy of refusing to release them.

But, as Covington noted, it is “consistent with open justice” for journalists to view court documents, and it’s neither unusual nor controversial for them to be released.

This masthead’s executive counsel, Larina Alick, told the court that Sarian’s case held significant public interest and that the registrar had made an error in refusing to release documents.

Source: 12ft

In a first, US Senate panel rejects Biden judicial nominee in New York | Reuters

A U.S. Senate panel on Thursday narrowly rejected one of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees in New York after Republicans strenuously objected to a decision she issued as a magistrate judge recommending that a transgender inmate convicted of child sex abuse be transferred to a women’s prison.

Netburn recommended her transfer after the U.S. Bureau of Prisons rejected her(sic) requests to be moved out of the all-male prison in Otisville, New York, prompting her(sic) to sue.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said Netburn’s decision put women in the prison in danger. The inmate had nearly three decades earlier pleaded guilty to raping a 17-year-old girl and molesting a 9-year-old and served an 18-year prison sentence in Indiana.
“I have to say this is an issue everyone on this committee knows this isn’t right,” Cruz said. “Every one of us, every one of us would be horrified if a loved one found out she was the cellmate of a six-foot-two man who was a serial rapist.”

Source: In a first, US Senate panel rejects Biden judicial nominee in New York | Reuters

Two women in Australia diagnosed with CTE after suffering decades of domestic violence, dozens of head injuries between them – ABC News

In short:

Two women who endured decades of partner violence have been diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

They are the first cases of CTE in domestic violence victims in Australia, and two of only a handful globally. CTE has mostly been found in male contact sports players who suffered repetitive head injury.

What’s next?

Experts say the discovery highlights the potential harms of long-term brain trauma and underscores the importance of screening DV victims for CTE at autopsy.

The women, aged in their 30s and 40s, died from blunt force injuries and impact trauma — one in an alleged assault and the other after being struck by a car.

—-

The pathologists examined their brains after reviewing their clinical records and learning they had at least 70 assault-related medical presentations and 35 documented head injuries related to partner violence between them.

One was found to have stage I CTE and the other stage II, the earliest, mildest forms of the disease.

Its symptoms can include memory loss and confusion, poor impulse control, severe depression and suicidality, though some people seemingly show no signs of illness at all. It can only be diagnosed post-mortem.

Source: Two women in Australia diagnosed with CTE after suffering decades of domestic violence, dozens of head injuries between them – ABC News