Letea Cavander with her daughter Tallulah Stuart at Coolum Beach.
Letea Cavander with her daughter Tallulah Stuart at Coolum Beach. John McCutcheon

There's no silver lining in child cruelty


THERE are some news articles I can barely finish reading these days.

All are about children suffering.

As a former court and police reporter, I have heard things I would never force the reading public to digest.

I still have nightmares, nine years after covering the story, about eight-year-old Trinity Bates who was murdered in Bundaberg.

I dream of where her body was found, which was about 50m from the room she was taken from.

She was killed by a family friend. The anniversary of her death was last month.

A memory that causes me much anguish is one of a woman walking up and down a footpath, repeatedly raising her hands to her head.

I did not know it at the time but I was watching Trinity's grandmother just after she had been told about the little girl's death.

I was so overcome by her actions that I could not raise the camera I had on me and take her photo.

The outpouring of grief in Bundy following the murder was unprecedented, and it was one of the first times I remember people using social media to express their emotions.

It is only now, since becoming a parent, I feel an even more awful pull in my stomach when I hear of children suffering or their deaths.

The Sunshine Coast Daily published two stories this week that made my skin crawl.

The first one was about a father who was found guilty of killing his own son. He was charged with manslaughter.

The second, still before the courts, was about a couple accused of sexually abusing their own children.

The Daily chose not to publish the details of the case. I applaud that choice.

In the manslaughter case, it has ripped a family apart.

Some family members want a lengthy prison sentence for the father. They do not speak to other members of the family.

I often try to find silver linings, but in these cases there are no positives. Children have died. Families are broken.

Communities are forced to ask "how can this happen and how can we prevent it from happening again?".

We are all responsible for keeping our children safe, and these articles remind us that our responsibilities are not complete until all our children are protected from harm.

Letea Cavander is a freelance journalist. Get in touch via Facebook at Letea Cavander Journalist or on Instagram @leteacavander.