My friend Justin Wolfers emails an observation on the Indigenous policy initiative.
I was just looking at the actual report that led to Howardâ€™s actions with the aboriginal communities.Â As I understand it, he is pushing these new policies based on the view that the report revealed crisis levels of child sexual abuse.Â The most amazing paragraph from the actual report:
As no attempt has been made to create a national study of the prevalence of child sexual abuse in Australia, nor (more importantly for this Inquiry) to effectively estimate the extent of sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities, the Inquiry has had to rely on the national (and NT) child protection datasets and NT criminal justice statistics. These can only provide information on reported cases of sexual abuse and are not able to provide an in-depth analysis of the nature and extent of sexual abuse in the communities.
However, when taken together with the high rate of STIs in children, and the clear anecdotal evidence of childrenâ€™s early involvement in sexual activity and of sexual abuse in NT communities (see Part I), the Inquiry has concluded that the prevalence of sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities is a pressing problem that has been significantly under-estimated. However, a better estimate of the actual size of the problem is highly desirable.
The amazing thing here is not that there is or isnâ€™t a crisis, simply the complete absence of evidence of one.Â Now my own guess is that given that aboriginal communities fare poorly on just about every socioeconomic indicator, it would be surprising if they werenâ€™t also doing poorly on this one.Â But it is rather amazing that this report is the catalyst to finally do something about deprivation in aboriginal communities.