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Australia is Shamed by an Inquiry Report on Child Sexual Abuse in Aboriginal Communities

The findings of a report into child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities in Northern Territory, that talks of juvenile prostitution , rivers of grog, child sex in exchange of drugs, have shocked and sickened all Australians.

``It is a damning indictment of our failure to protect children,'' said Mal Brough, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister. ``This is a national disgrace, it is a disaster and it is something that should never happen in this country.''

Brough was reacting to the report of the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse inquiry, established by the NT Government last August. According to the report, child sex is widespread and often unreported in Aboriginal communities, and victims are as young as a three year old.

The abuse of children was reported in every one of the 45 communities the inquiry commission visited. In its 316-page report, the inquiry blamed lack of education, alcoholism, and serious social problems for the abuse of children.

``If governments fail to work together a long-term plan to address the problem, the indigenous communities are facing a disaster,'' said Rex Wild, co-chairman of the inquiry. Pat Anderson, his fellow chairwoman, said: ``Our children are suffering from one end to the other.''

The report revealed of Aboriginal girls engaged in rampant informal sex trade with non-Aboriginal workers from a mining company for alcohol, cash and other goods in exchange for sex. In at least three other cases, the inquiry was told that young Aboriginal girls traded sex for drugs.

In one community children as young as six were regularly seen acting out sexual behavior in groups. One child was only three. According to the inquiry, overcrowded houses often exposed the children to sex and pornography.

The high rate of sexually transmitted infections in teenagers aged between 12 and 16, and a high rate of teenage pregnancy, could be attribu
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