In Australia, we're starting to see some much-welcome pressure directed at public officials who allow (or force) children to stay in the custody of known molesters and abusers. It's about time these people start feeling the heat for their deliberate incompentence and indifference towards children.
Controversies plague Bellarine MP Lisa Neville
November 6th, 2009
LISA Neville, the minister responsible for child protection and mental health facilities, has become a weak link in the well oiled Victorian Government publicity machine.
Lax security for killers in psychiatric facilities and children left in the care of known sex offenders are just some of the circumstances that have prompted calls for her to resign or be sacked.
Yesterday, the minister faced the media to explain why some patients in a secure psychiatric hospital, many of whom have killed before, have access to knives.
Peko Lakovski, 49, has been charged with two counts of murder after the stabbing deaths of fellow inmates Raymond Splatt and Paul Notas late on Wednesday.
The men were in the low-security Jardine unit at Thomas Embling Hospital in Melbourne, where there are no security cameras.
Ms Neville ordered the state's chief psychiatrist, Ruth Vine, to investigate procedures at the facility.
In October, Public Advocate Colleen Pearce spoke out about the dire state of services for the mentally ill and disabled in the annual Community Visitors report tabled to Parliament.
Ms Neville, also the Bellarine MP, has been the subject of controversy in the area of child protection, which falls under the community services portfolio.
In September, the community services minister admitted both she and the head of the Department of Human Services (DHS), Fran Thorn, knew nothing about a case involving a woman allegedly abused by her father for 30 years, despite the fact she had been cared for by authorities for some time.
The first time Ms Neville said she learnt of the case was after reading about it in a newspaper.
The incest story broke shortly after the release of a damning report from Ombudsman George Brouwer, who raised serious questions about the department's capacity to protect children.
In his annual report, he cited a case in which a child monitored by the DHS was living with a convicted sex offender, despite the child's disclosures of abuse by the offender in the past.
Ms Neville was appointed mental health and community services minister after Labor won the 2006 election under the leadership of then premier Steve Bracks.