No one with a modicum of intelligence would subscribe to the effectiveness of locking away sex abusers and throwing away the key.
It is easy though, at least in the first instance, to feel horror or revulsion at the crime that has been committed.
That is especially the case when the victim is a child. It truly sickens us, that those among the most vulnerable in our community could be targeted in such a way.
And the consequences for the victim last well beyond the system’s final step of, hopefully, securing a conviction and sentence for the perpetrator.
These are crimes that put simply can cause life-long damage that even with appropriate counselling and support will continue to haunt for many years to come.
Within this context it might be difficult to find the room for sympathy for those who commit such heinous crimes.
Again, we are more likely to find nothing but contempt and hatred.
This though is a short-sighted approach that could help contribute to a situation of even more serious ramifications at some point in the future.
It is remiss to not make a serious attempt to understand why these crimes are committed in the first place.
Another priority should be to work with the perpetrators to try to treat this abhorrent behaviour.
Some might say that those so inclined are simply born that way and that any attempts at rehabilitation are pointless.
But if that is the attitude, we should perhaps simply give up – on everything and everyone. Thankfully, there are many in our community who don’t subscribe to such a nihilistic approach.
This is welcome given that often the abuser has become so as the result of the abuse they suffered themselves. What is worrying is that so often these cases involve teens abusing their own siblings.
We applaud then the Victorian government’s decision to allocate $120,000 to treat sexually abuse behaviour in young people in the North East.
As Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos points out, Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Services “is about addressing destructive behaviour from an early age, to ensure we are rehabilitating young people and setting them on the right path”.
That has to be a good thing for these young people and the wider community.