An 11-year-old girl who was the victim of repeated sexual assault died in hospital on Tuesday following a suicide attempt.
The Noongar child had recently taken part in a video interview with the police describing the crimes she had suffered, and was afraid to hear that her alleged rapist had been released on bail.
She tried to take her own life in the town of WA South West on Monday. Her family was forced to make a painful decision to stop her life support at Perth Children’s Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Gerry-Georgatos, director of the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Rehabilitation Initiative, said about 100 relatives had filled the ward and slept in their cars overnight to be with the young girl.
“I’ve never seen the likes of this before, they came from everywhere,” he said.
“The sea of grief, the outpouring and the number of people breaking down was overwhelming.
“Children, youth, elders – it was devastating, even the hospital staff and police in attendance were distressed.
“There’s so many fails in what has happened to culminate in the loss of an 11-year-old.”
Mr-Georgatos, along with his colleague Megan Krakouer and the girl’s relatives, are now campaigning for the law to be changed in order to deny bail to the convicted repeat child sex abusers.
“When you’ve got an alleged offender who’s offended more than one time, then there should be no possibility of bail,” Mr Georgatos said.
“By all accounts, everything put to me by the family, they were in fear of this person.”
The man accused of raping the girl is in the 60s. He faces six counts of indecently dealing with a child under 13 and four counts of sexually penetrating a child under 13.
For support call
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counseling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25. Call 1800 55 1800.
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.