News

Justice denied for assault victim

Inspector Darren Somerville, from Gladstone Police, said that when a person makes a complaint of sexual assault, police took a statement and then organised a medical examination at a hospital or surgery with a GMO.
Inspector Darren Somerville, from Gladstone Police, said that when a person makes a complaint of sexual assault, police took a statement and then organised a medical examination at a hospital or surgery with a GMO. Brenda Strong

A DISABLED woman who was raped will never get justice because a government doctor was not available to examine her on the evening of the attack.

The woman, who has a neurological condition and struggles to walk, was raped in South Gladstone on January 14.

Yesterday, it was revealed the middle-aged mother went to the Gladstone Base Hospital on the evening of the attack, expecting to be examined by a government medical officer (GMO).

However, the doctor was not available to collect vital evidence that would be used by police to track down and convict the rapist.

Police and the hospital would not comment on the case yesterday.

The victim's carer said the woman waited at the hospital for three hours.

She was spoken to by police at 5.45pm, arrived at the hospital at 7.30pm and left at 10.30pm.

"I was told only the GMO could examine her," the carer said. "My friend (the victim) was distressed.

"In the end the doctor was unable to come and we were dismissed, end of story.

"We can never know whether it (the rape) took place. I ended up bringing her back to my home.

"It's totally unacceptable - she was denied the possibility of justice."

The woman said she didn't fault the hospital or police.

"The hospital couldn't do anymore than they did. They weren't authorised to do anymore than they did," she said.

"The police probably did everything they could, but where was the doctor?"

She said there needed to be more government medical officers on and that doctors and nurses should be authorised to examine rape victims at hospitals.

Inspector Darren Somerville, from Gladstone Police, said that when a person makes a complaint of sexual assault, police took a statement and then organised a medical examination at a hospital or surgery with a GMO.

He said a government medical officer and police needed to be present to ensure that there were no gaps in taking evidence for use in court.

Inspector Somerville said while GMOs were specially trained to do examinations, other doctors could conduct them.

"We have found that they can be reluctant to do them at times," he said.

He said he couldn't comment on the specifics of the case, but said police took every step possible to make sure people who make sexual assault claims were examined.

Gladstone Region Sexual Assault Service counsellor Robyn Liddell said sexual assault victims were often vulnerable.

The Observer has chosen not to identify the victim or her carer.

Topics:  justice, rape, victim




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Show me the jobs: Officeworks has 25 on offer

Office Works will open in the old Sassi building on Hansen Road.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

Officeworks to open in September.

PHOTOS: Do these paint drips on a Gladstone shopping centre look intentional?

Paint drips run down the mural.

THE company that owns the shopping centre explains.

YOUR GUIDE: Flynn candidates hand in their resumes

WHO is most qualified for Flynn's top job?

Latest deals and offers

Soccer kids enjoy clinic

Clinton's Charles Heeron - Senior Soccer between Clinton and Meteors. Saturday, May 14th, 2016.

A League goalkeeper Michael Theo was passing down his soccer wisdom to about 30...

Soccer kids enjoy clinic

Clinton's Charles Heeron - Senior Soccer between Clinton and Meteors. Saturday, May 14th, 2016.

A League goalkeeper Michael Theo was passing down his soccer wisdom to about 30...

Oddis the foster dog

Oddis the foster dog

Oddis the foster dog needs a forever home.

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward