Monday, February 20, 2012

Protecting Children Is In The Public Interest

As you may have already heard, the Watchtower Society has gotten into trouble for multiple violations of the Working With Children Act in Australia. For years, they have refused to comply with the law that requires that their ministers get background checks. They have finally begun to comply with the law, but they are still liable for numerous violations over a period of several years.

The authorities in Australia have been reluctant to enforce this law. However, Mr. Steven Unthank has initiated a private prosecution of the Watchtower Society and related corporate entities. This private prosecution has overcome numerous hurdles, including several hearings. There was the hope the the state would take over the prosecution soon.

Now, Mr. Steven Unthank has received word that the Director of Public Prosecutions is interested in taking over the cases “for the purpose of discontinuing them.” It was suggested that prosecuting these cases is "not in the public interest".

I'm dumbfounded that prosecuting individuals and corporations for crimes against children could be considered as "not in the public interest".

I have emailed the Director and tried to convey my disgust over his stand.

A law that isn't enforced is worthless. The children of Australia have a right to be protected by this law. It's a shame that the government has so far avoided its responsibility to protect the children.

It's interesting that the progress so far has been primarily the result of the actions of a single individual who has been doing the work that should be done by the government. I'm amazed that they are willing to drop the cases at this late date after much of the work has already been done and after it has already received international attention and scrutiny.

The world is watching. I hope they will make the courageous decision that protecting children is in the public interest.

See also, this blog post and this discussion.