IF it turns out “Hey Dad!” child actor, Sarah Monahan, was abused by her on-screen dad, it’s clear to me he wasn’t the only abuser on the set.
Several other adults abused her trust by not acting to protect her or to act on the allegations when she confided in them during her time on the TV show.
And as our current laws stand, by staying silent about alleged abuse, these adults did nothing wrong.
To put it in perspective, think of it this way. Do 64km/h in a 60km/h zone and they’ll fine you. But if you stay silent when a child says he or she is being molested, chances are there’s little to suggest you could face any strife.
Monahan courageously told various members of her on-screen family she was being abused by her on-screen dad, Robert Hughes.
But did they report these allegations – which have been denied by Hughes – to NSW’s Sex Crimes Squad? No.
They say they did what they could to protect her, but they failed to take the only real action that would have put an end to the abuse – go to the police.
These actors, including Simone Buchanan and Ben Oxenbould, are now rightly copping criticism as they unite in a show of support for their young co-star.
To make matters worse, some of the Hey Dad! stars are reportedly being paid to show their concern on the pages of Woman’s Day and on our screens during A Current Affair.
But where the hell was all this public outrage 20 years ago?
What isn’t well known is that adults’ silence back then was totally legal.
And 20 years later in Victoria – and NSW, where the show was filmed – it seems that nothing has changed.
Unless you are a police officer, teacher, nurse or doctor, you are not legally required to report allegations of child abuse to authorities.
You can’t be held accountable. You can’t be charged. You can’t even be fined.
Well, guess what? That is outrageous.
All child abuse is serious, and must be reported and investigated immediately for the sake of the current and future victims.
By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
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