When Queensland MP Rob Molhoek started getting flashbacks of sexual abuse he suffered as a child, he said he realised it was finally time to go to the police.
It had been three decades since he was abused as a 10-year-old by one of his father’s clients in 1969, but he has only now decided to go public with the “one-off” incident.
The Liberal National Party MP stood in Parliament on Wednesday night to share his story, while speaking in support of his party’s motion calling for the introduction of a public child sex offender registry.
In an interview with the ABC, Mr Molhoek said it had been a long road for him in comprehending what had happened.
“It’s not something I was particularly traumatised by at the time,” the Member for Southport said.
“In fact I didn’t think about it much at all.
“But then when I returned to the Gold Coast after living away for a number of years … I was driving over the Sundale Bridge one day and I just had this flashback and I thought, ‘Gosh, I’d forgotten about that’.
“It occurred to me, ‘Well, if this person is still living on the Coast, if they’re still offending, there may well be other people that’ve reported incidents that need their stories corroborated’.”
Police took a statement and contacted him a few days later to inform him the offender had died.
Re-living the moment in graphic detail to provide a statement was a difficult experience.
“When you actually have to write down on a piece of paper and describe an incident and go into detail as to what happened, and actually name the person and the circumstances under which it occurred, it’s actually very confronting,” he said.
“It did feel very strange.
“I remember at the time, after saving the word document, that I’d actually typed it out in thinking: ‘What do I do with this? Do I delete it now? Do I put it on a thumb drive and chuck it in a filing cabinet somewhere?’
“It’s not something I really wanted to be a part of my life.”
‘It’s always kept quiet’
Mr Molhoek decided to disclose the abuse publicly to highlight that child sex offending often occurs behind closed doors, and a public registry would help keep children safe.
“People have a right to know if their kids are at risk,” he said.
“The problem with sexual assault is it’s always kept quiet it’s not obvious.”
The LNP’s proposal for the registry would allow parents to discover the identity of child sex offenders living in their neighbourhood and enable them to check the background of anyone who has regular unsupervised access to their children.
The motion was voted down in Parliament.
During the debate, Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said Queensland already had tough sex offender legislation and the evidence suggested public registries did not work.
“The facts around sex offender registers can be clouded by emotions, but we know that evidence from other jurisdictions show they don’t reduce re-offending and they don’t prevent offending,” Ms Farmer said.
“We owe it to victims and their families to do the things that work and to not give them false hope.”
Topics: child-abuse, parliament, brisbane-4000, qld
Lawn Mowing Service