Government has expressed a desire to amend the Bail Act to deny bail to persons charged with sexual offences involving a child or young persons for 120 days. A hotline along with public service announcements were also forthcoming advising persons to "report all suspected child abuse incidents" so as to "Help save a child's life today."
The knee jerk reaction by the government to the tragic incident involving the sexual assault and murder of a young girl is very disturbing. Not only was it done without a proper analysis of the circumstances but the proposed policies would have done nothing to spare the young girl from this tragedy.
Under the proposed system any person whether falsely accused or not could be arrested, charged and detained for 120 days because a mischievous neighbour or child calls a hotline citing frivolous suspicions about "probable child abuse". This is very dangerous and erodes every citizens right to due process. If the suspect happens to be poor, uneducated, and unconnected they will surely be tied up in the court system for years.
Inadvertently an environment will be fostered where friends, neighbours and family will be encouraged to report likely perpetrators thereby destroying elements of family privacy and promoting government as the ultimate adjudicator in family life. Further this undermines the authority of parents to discipline their children and provides a convenient avenue for children and the government bureaucrats to intimidate parents at the their discretion.
The state has again used an unfortunate crisis to trample upon the rights and freedoms of every citizen and extend their tentacles of control into private family life. Instead of drafting these legislative dead letters, the country should be alerted to how the government has undermined the traditional custodial role of fathers whose primary role is to care for and safeguard their families and children.
A prime example is the rendering of fathers in some homes redundant as a result of extensive public assistance options geared towards single mothers and women in general. Consequently fathers are conditioned to believe they are not needed. Similarly, the judicial bias that favour mothers over fathers in family custody court proceedings as public policy regardless of the mothers lifestyle also serves to diminish the role of fathers in society.
Although the solutions proposed tug at many heart strings and may strike many as compelling and noble, a circumspect citizen should always note that bureaucrats always pose the greater threat to society than whatever problem they purport to solve.