The full report is here:
Got that? The police logic goes: ‘The complainants claim that they didn’t consent, but we can’t charge these guys with sexual assault because we can’t prove that there wasn’t consent. And we can’t change them with sex with an underage person because we assume that the sex was consensual.’
Here’s what’s amazing. The officers making these decisions were detectives in the Child Protection Unit. They’re a special team trained to ‘exclusively focus’ on child abuse and they either did not understand the law around the age of consent or deliberately misinterpreted it.
The IPCA also notes, with a weary sigh:
The processes within the police for dealing with this category of crime referred to in the IPCA report sound pretty good. The problem, as they note, is that the police didn’t bother to follow any of them. Seven different complainants came forward and named same same three attackers, which is supposed to trigger something called a ‘Mass Allegation Investigation’ to address serial abuse by the same offenders or groups of offenders. Instead the police just looked at each case on an individual basis, decided it wasn’t worth prosecuting – because they didn’t understand the damn law – and then went around assuring each other that none of the victims wanted to lay a complaint – which was false – and that officers had talked to the boys and their parents, which none of them ever actually bothered to do.
At least two of the senior detectives overseeing these cases – Officer C and Officer E – appear to be incompetent. Both of them still have their jobs. And that’s really the key issue here. Police can blandly say they accept criticisms and recommendations and apologise to victims, etc, but if they don’t sack incompetent officers specifically identified as being the cause of this debacle then none of it means anything.