Rose and Pippa Milthorpe were five and eight when they told their parents that someone close to them had been sexually abusing them for several years.
At just 7 and 11 years old, they took their abuser to court, eventually getting a partial conviction, but the court system left them traumatized beyond belief.
Six years later, they won a court battle to speak their own names and today shared their story exclusively with news.com.au to launch the Justice Shouldn’t Hurt campaign.
They are fighting to make it easier for children in sex crime cases to testify. They need your help to protect other children.
Justice shouldn’t hurt, but for the children of Australia, it does. The NSW government knows how to fix this problem, but they haven’t. That’s why news.com.au is calling for law reform to make it easier for child victims of sexual abuse to come forward as witnesses. We need 20,000 signatures today. Join the movement and sign the petition here.
What we are fighting for
Rose and Pippa want the child sex offender testing pilot program to be rolled out across NSW.
The program aims to provide greater support to child whistleblowers and prosecution witnesses in sex crime matters, an experience that is often stressful, distressing and re-traumatizing in itself.
Implemented at Downing Center District Courts in Newcastle and Sydney as a trial in March 2016, the pilot has two main components: allowing children to have all their evidence recorded ahead of time; and have the support of specially trained and accredited specialists, known as witness intermediaries, who help them communicate with the police and the court, preserving the rights of the accused to a fair trial.
The program has received rave reviews but has yet to roll out beyond trial sites, despite the NSW Attorney-General promising it would be “permanent” in 2018.
The girls’ mother, Michelle Milthorpe, says it is “absolutely a double standard” that the program has not been implemented in NSW.
“It’s not fair to rural kids, or any kids. There are kids in Sydney who don’t have access to this,” Michelle, who first urged NSW Attorney-General (then Gabrielle Upton) to consider expanding the program in 2016 after of the judgment of his daughters.
“It is not fair that the children are not treated equally in this, because they have already gone through the worst experience. They shouldn’t be retraumatized by the legal system.”
Originally posted as We need 20,000 signatures today to help survivors of child sexual abuse