Agencies 'confused' over child abuse

By Annette Blackwell

Police, prosecutors and NSW child protection agencies all differed on whether a man accused of abusing three toddlers in a childcare centre should be prosecuted or posed an ongoing risk to children.

The man, referred to as CDM, was committed to stand trial in June 2011 on four counts of aggravated indecent assault against three very young children.

CDM was father of the centre's director and part-owner of the business.

The mother of two of the children has told a royal commission that in May 2011 the family received a letter from NSW Family and Community Services (FACS) saying as far as it was concerned the case was closed because they were not satisfied the child was harmed.

It meant pre-trial counselling for the little girl, known as CDO, was withdrawn.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been exploring why only a limited number of complaints about the abuse of very young children and children with disabilities are prosecuted.

On Wednesday it heard from Detective Sergeant Kelly Donaghy who was on the JIRT team which handled the allegations against CDM.

Det Sgt Donaghy said she could think of no reason why FACS would have reached that conclusion.

"There must have been an error on their part, because it does not seem possible to me, to think that something would meet a standard for me to charge somebody but not meet the standard to receive counselling, which is much under the threshold I need to get."

CDO's mother has told the commission the whole ordeal was very distressing and they had to fight to get the help they needed.

When they complained they received a letter of apology saying communication between the three JIRT agencies was not as it should be.