By bobb |

Australia’s mainstream media are reporting on the story of a 12-year-old girl accused of stabbing a stranger in an apartment, hostel or hotel (reports vary) in Melbourne Vic. The reports include:

These reports include statements like:

“Police received multiple welfare calls about a 12-year-old girl for at least a year before she was charged with murder last week, it’s been claimed.”

“Victoria Police received multiple reports about the welfare of a 12-year-old girl ‘running wild’ on the streets and being ‘prostituted out’ to men despite being in state care for at least a year before she was charged with murder last week.

“Many had rang police but to no avail,” he wrote. “I suggested … child protection [but] no response. That young girl allegedly stabbed and killed a woman.”


"This child has been failed every step of the way, leading up to the most horrific of crimes and the most horrific of circumstances, and now two lives are lost."

The girl is reported variously to have multiple disabilities (including being autistic). She was known in the area where the events occurred. Reports indicated that various authorities were alerted and warned about her situation … but did very little or nothing at all to help her. 

The NDIS is not designed to help a child like this one; many of the support systems for a child such as this are the responsibility of the state government. These events happened in Victoria, one of the few Australian states with a general Autism Plan (see here or here). Clearly, Victoria’s Autism Plan did not help this child. 

The public will never be told how all those systems failed this girl; the government will keep it all secret … and important lessons will not be learned. Government agencies, reputations, and staff will be protected ... as usual. 

The Disability Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (DRC) made few recommendations relating to Autistic Australians in its final report. While autistic advocates in Australia get the impression (but cannot find data) that autistic children come into contact with “child protection” services more often than other children1, the Commission’s reports look mainly at child protection in relation to First Nations people with disability; apparently, the DRC missed autistic children like the one in this story.

Its report on Parents with disability and their experiences of child protection systems failed autistic children and their parents (who may also be autistic, probably undiagnosed). The report had a strong emphasis on Intellectual Disability and ignored neurology-related disability like autism spectrum disorder.

1 Australia has been encouraging child protection workers from the UK to emigrate to Australia. Research from Cambridge University describes UK experiences ... "1 in 5 mothers of a child with autism, regardless of maternal diagnosis, were assessed by social services; of those, 1 in 6 had their child compulsorily placed for adoption".