5 year old forced to live with dad she disclosed sexually abused her. Send Poppy home.
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The 5 year old girl known in the media as 'Poppy' made 22 statements about being sexually abused by her father in an interview with the Department of Family and Community Services.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information and subpoena clearly show 2 Department case workers heard Poppy's disclosures, wrote them down, and then denied that they had ever happened.
Meeting records show these workers telling Poppy's mum and father that Poppy had never disclosed sexual abuse to anyone except her mum. They said that if Poppy's mum did not regularly send Poppy into the father's unsupervised, overnight care the Department would start proceedings to have Poppy removed from her care.
Pru Goward, NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, is aware of the situation, but has done nothing.
Her only response has been a letter denying Poppy ever disclosed sexual abuse to her Department. All the Minister needs to do is look at Poppy's file to see that this is not true.
Poppy's mum took Poppy into hiding a few days after the meeting with Department staff in 2017, as they made it clear that they would do nothing to protect her little girl.
Poppy and her mum lived in hiding for many months until they were found by the Australian Federal Police. Poppy was forcibly removed from her mum by the AFP.
Poppy has been forced to live with the man she has repeatedly described sexually abusing her ever since.
She has been allowed just 4 hours with her mum since being sent to live with her father.
The Department does not appear to be monitoring her wellbeing in any way. Neither are the family courts or the state or federal police.
The Department's claim that Poppy never disclosed sexual abuse has been highly influential in the family courts also refusing to protect Poppy from her father.
We hope that protecting children from sexual abuse is always the priority of the Department and the NSW Government. In the context of the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, the recent National Apology and the NSW Government’s new laws about tougher penalties for people who fail to report child sexual abuse, the actions of Department staff in concealing Poppy's disclosures of sexual abuse are abhorrent.
The Minister’s refusal to do anything to protect Poppy now that her Department's apparent misconduct has been brought to her attention is an obvious failure in her duties as Minister.
Poppy needs to be made immediately safe and returned to her mum. The people who have exposed her to the risk of ongoing sexual abuse must be made accountable.
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