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L’éditorial a été édité à une date indiquée 2023-08-01 00:34:00.
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Detective Inspector Jon Rouse has spent most of career protecting children but he remains haunted by a phone call that etched into his memory the devastating consequences when there is no one to protect a youngster from a sex predator.
Det Insp Rouse said he received the call only a few days after starting work at Queensland’s Taskforce Argos in 2000, which investigates child sex abuse.
‘The caller could not speak at all for the first five minutes. There was just sobbing,’ Detective Inspector Rouse told Queensland Police News.
‘I waited patiently and eventually he told me his story.
‘He was in his mid-50s at the time of the call. He told me that as a young child he had been placed in an orphanage run by nuns.
Recently retired Queensland Detective Inspector Jon Rouse has spent nearly 30 years fighting to protect children from abusers
‘On weekends, as a « treat » the groundsman would take some of the children to the drive-in movies, where they would be sexually abused.
‘When he mustered the courage to tell the nuns what had happened, he said they ‘caned his feet until they bled’ and asked how could he ‘say such terrible lies about this good man’.
‘Apart from listening to his story, I soon came to realise there was nothing I could do to get justice for this man as it had happened so long ago and I ascertained that the perpetrator and all the witnesses had passed away.’
The senior police officer, who is being forced into reluctant retirement at age 60, said the most common question he is asked is ‘how can you do this kind of work?’.
‘My response is always « how can you not? ».
‘In law enforcement, everything we do has a linkage to trauma. Whether it’s road accidents, domestic violence or homicides, everything we do as police officers has the potential to psychologically damage us.
‘I particularly take my hat off to our officers across the state and at the Child Trauma Task Force at headquarters investigating cases where children have died. Their singular focus is to get justice for those victims.
‘At Argos, we have the opportunity to intervene. And in many cases, we stop the abuse before children are old enough to ever remember what has happened to them.’
Det Insp Rouse said that he learnt from his time in a child protection taskforce that the hidden scale of child abuse was vast
It emerged on Tuesday that a former Gold Coast childcare centre worker has been charged with 1623 child abuse offences which allegedly involved 91 victims,
The Gold Coast man, 45, has been charged with 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10 in Brisbane, Sydney and overseas between 2007 and 2022.
Det Insp Rouse said his many years in Taskforce Argus and before that a four-year stint in Queensland’s the Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group had shown him the massive scale of the problem.
‘The only thing we seem to have really good at over that time is finding more (abuse), he told radio station 2GB.
‘I don’t think you are ever going to see us eliminate this issue because it is a percentage of humans.’
He has also learnt that child abuse crosses all international boundaries because there were ‘dreadful people across the globe’.
‘When we go online you don’t know where the offender is and you don’t know where the child victim is,’ he said
‘Sometimes they are in Australia and Queensland but probably in 80 90 per cent of the cases they are overseas.
‘I don’t care where the child is, I will try to do something to make sure they are removed from harm.’
He said with the encouragement of senior police Taskforce Argos has built a major global network with other international law agencies to protect children.
‘We could get a lead from anywhere in the world and have a child removed from harm sometimes in hours,’ he said.
The foundation set up in the memory of murdered and abused Gold Coast 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe paid tribute to Det Insp Rouse
Det Insp Rouse said that although he is leaving the force he will continue the fight to protect children.
He has taken up a professorship at Melbourne’s Monash University where he will teach and research the role of AI plays in enabling or combatting child abuse.
He also will continue as board member for International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in Australia and working with the Daniel Morcombe agency.
The Foundation that was set up to protect children in memory of murdered Gold Coast 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe, recently paid tribute to Det Insp Rouse.
‘The Daniel Morcombe Foundation has a long-standing relationship with Detective Inspector Jon Rouse APM, and we celebrate his life’s work dedicated to protecting children from harm and as a champion to the cause of keeping kids safe,’ the Foundation said in an Instagram post.
‘As a valued ambassador to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, we look forward to continuing and growing our relationship with you.
‘Congratulations on your retirement, we are confident that your energy and passion for protecting children from harm will not reduce.’
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