My daughter ran away from home a few days ago.
Well technically that’s not quite true.
She actually ran away from school, they just didn’t realize it.
Apparently she’d made a “new friend” at school who’d told her that they “could have so much fun if they ditched school and ran away together. “I’ve done it before and it’s easy,” she’d told my daughter, “and even if the police catch us they can’t do anything to us. I know because I’ve done it heaps of times before.”
So they ran away together from school.
This “new friend”, I found out later was an older student with a very troubled past and had indeed run away from home several times before and gotten away with it.
So after my daughter failed to return home form school I rang the school and asked the staff there if they had any idea who she was with that day or where she might be?
On further checking the staff then realized that my daughter had been absent from every class since 11am that day.
They also informed me that she had been seen in the company of an older girl whom I did not know, but they certainly did, and that the older girls reputation was not a particularly good one.
To their credit, the staff at the school, being aware that my daughter had only recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, fore went their usual protocols and phoned the parents of the other “older girl” only to discover that she too was missing.
They then spent the next 3 hours phoning as many parents as they could possibly think of whose children have been known to associate with this “older girl” to see if they knew anything or had any sightings of them.
All to no avail.
So I phoned the police for assistance.
At first I was fobbed off.
So the principal of my daughter’s school then rang the police as well to stress the urgency of my daughter’s situation to them.
Two police constables eventually came to my house at 8 o’clock that night, where I tried as calmly as I could to explain to them that my daughter had just been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and that she was an extremely vulnerable child because she lacked the ability to sense when other people were lying to her and was therefore very trusting.
At that point one of the police constables responded to me by saying……
“Well doesn’t every young teenager lack the ability to do that?”
I did my best not to scream at him for being so bloody ignorant and after giving them a photo of my daughter (who unfortunately looks older than 13) they left telling me they’d be in touch if they found her but that “this was a normal teenage thing and that she’d probably come home under her own steam the following day”.
Well running away may have been normal behavior for the older girl but it certainly wasn’t “normal teenage behavior for my daughter”.
So after stressing and phoning the police every hour to see if they’d found her, I received a phone call at 1 am in the morning from a mother I’d never heard of before, but whose daughter also goes to the same school, telling me that she’d just had a message from a friend of a friend, who had said that the two girls were shacked up in the house of a 23-year-old man they’d met off Facebook.
How she knew this I still do not know, however, she gave me an address and I immediately rang the police and passed on the information.
The police told me that they’d had the same information and that they were on their way to the address in question but that it was a block of units and they did not know which unit the girls were said to be in.
They eventually located the right unit and found my daughter and her friend in the company of this man, and in their wisdom, they decided that girls weren’t in any immediate danger.
So they asked the girls whether or not they’d like to be taken home and because the girls told them that they didn’t want to go home as they were “having so much fun”, according to them, there was nothing they could do but to leave both girls there.
Especially since the 23-year-old man had already stated that he was happy to have the girls stay with him for the night.
Shocked that the police were choosing to leave my 13-year-old daughter in the company of a man who I’d expressly told them that I did not know, and whom she’d met via Facebook, I naturally demanded that they bring her home immediately as I most certainly did not give my permission for her to even be in the company of this man, let alone give my permission for her to stay the night there.
The police then told me that there was absolutely nothing they could do and that my daughter had the right to choose to stay where ever she wanted.
“But she’s 13″ I yelled at them out raged by the whole situation.
Apparently as parents we have absolutely no rights what so ever in this country (Australia).
I am still ANGRY AS HELL at the lack of action taken by the police in this situation.
Anything could have happened to my daughter during the course of that night.
She could have been drugged and raped or any number of things could have been done to her.
Bearing all of this in mind, by 9am the following morning I made sure that Child Protection had received 4 different requests from both myself, my daughter’s psychologist, the principal of her school and the social worker from her school, for an intervention order to be taken out against this man.
All of us had stressed to Children’s Protective Services that my daughter was an extremely vulnerable child and should be removed ASAP from the house of this 23-year-old stranger.
Guess what Children’s Protection Services did?
In the end I had to go out and find her myself.
And now I’m expected to have a meeting with Children’s Protection Services because I had the audacity to complain about their lack of action.
Oh and by the way, guess what the parents of the other girl did?
They were so used to their daughter running away and the fact that the police continually refused to do anything about it, that they didn’t even bother to phone the police at all.
They just let her go and because they’d either fallen into the habit, or been forced into this habit, of letting their own child run wild, my child was placed in danger.
Seriously, there is something very wrong with the laws in this country when a 13-year-old child is permitted by the police to remain in the home of a male who is a complete stranger against her parents wishes.
There’s also something very wrong with the system when Children’s Protective Services fail to take action after 4 notifications of child endangerment, one after the other, within a very short space of time.
What on earth is the point of trying to raise awareness that violence and rape against women is wrong in the media if our local police forces and Children’s Protective Services are willing to sit on their bums and twiddle their thumbs while young girls are knowingly being left in dangerous situations?
Haven’t we all heard enough recently about how even people who appear to be as innocent as Rolf Harris can still potentially pose a threat to young girls?
What the hell is wrong with this country?
- April Jones trial: Mark Bridger wanted to be Facebook friends with her missing girl’s older sister (mirror.co.uk)
- Three Kidnap Victims Give Birth To Five Babies Whiles In Captive (modernghana.com)
- Aspergers Syndrome (tildaturtle.wordpress.com)
- 4 important facts and misconceptions about Asperger’s syndrome (msbenjibooks.wordpress.com)
- Findings of report into Carlow/Kilkenny child protection services are shocking but familiar (irishtimes.com)
- California Lawmaker Tim Donnelly Wants Audit of Child Protective Services After Baby Is Taken From Parents (foxnewsinsider.com)
- The woman on a mission to expose sexual abuse (guardian.co.uk)
- Children at risk due to HSE care failures, Hiqa report finds (irishtimes.com)
- Children pay a terrible price for ‘care’ (telegraph.co.uk)