Confronting acts of perversion

SIX-WEEK-OLD babies are raped and tortured, often by their fathers for a network of online viewers including pillars of society — it’s all part of a perverted entertainment where children are regarded as commodities.

This sinister sector of society was revealed to The Standard in an interview with Ballarat-based researcher Professor Caroline Taylor, who was in Warrnambool yesterday for two workshops to help the community better understand the depth of child sex abuse.

“People don’t believe me when I tell them about this,” said Professor Taylor, who has worked with Interpol and UNICEF and next week travels to India for a month to advise police on dealing with crimes against children.

“The majority of child abuse material is provided by people using their own children.

“Respected pillars of the community are included in those making, selling, swapping and hoarding these images.

“Rape and torture of children includes babies six weeks old.

“Some people say it is harmless because they are only looking at it, but I say you are commissioning these crimes.

“To those in these circles, a child is a commodity. They either have the perverse belief that children want to be part of it or that a child is a sexual object to be used and then discarded.

“Anyone caught with that type of material should be investigated by police for links with other children.” 

Professor Taylor sees a link between online pornography and child abuse, with many viewers going on to groom children for further crimes.

She was involved with investigations into a major international network, which resulted in several high-profile arrests in Australia last year.

Her work has triggered personal threats, abusive phone calls and being spat on. 

Professor Taylor has also worked with agencies in tackling sex slavery and child trafficking.

“Poverty in Asian countries creates demand by Western people for this,” she said.

“We are talking to governments and saying if families were not so impoverished they wouldn’t sell their daughters.”

Professor Taylor said child sex abuse needed a whole-of-society approach to tackle it.

Her visit to Warrnambool was at the invitation of St Joseph’s Catholic parish leaders to provide an opportunity for community members to better understand the wider issue which has engulfed the church denomination worldwide for decades.

“I describe myself as a critical Catholic who has been outspoken about past failures of the church and other institutions,” she said.

“But you also need to be part of the solution.”

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