Wait for justice for woman allegedly abused as homeless teen


A TASMANIAN woman says she's facing "excruciating" court delays after she was allegedly sexually assaulted as a homeless teenager during the 1990s.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, says she was abused by a man now employed by the state government, falling pregnant to him when she was 14 and again when she was 15.

Sadly, she lost the child on each occasion.

The woman claims the man, then in his 20s, was the son of a foster carer who had taken her in, and that she was under protective supervision at the time.

She first reported the alleged sexual abuse to police in 2018, after Tasmania axed limitation periods for child sexual abuse claims.

The woman's lawyer, Angela Sdrinis, says the man has been stood down from his role while the criminal investigation unfolds.


Lawyer Angela Sdrinis. Picture: Penny Stephens
Lawyer Angela Sdrinis. Picture: Penny Stephens


But two-and-a-half years later, she says her client is still waiting for justice.

In fact, the woman says she's been told she could be waiting another two years before the criminal case goes to trial.

"Since coming forward, I have memories and flashbacks of (the alleged abuse) daily," she told the Mercury.

"Since having him charged, life has been a massive struggle, not only for me but for my family. My children now see social workers to help them deal with how much life changed and how they no longer recognised the person they call mum."

The woman said her mental health went "up and down" from day to day - and that she sometimes considered suicide.

"In the past two years, there have been over 12 court dates - the majority of them have been adjournments," she said.

"I do understand the courts are heavily inundated and backlogged, but seriously Tasmania needs to get some kind of organisation happening.

"I'm a big believer of helping yourself and your past not being used as an excuse to be a s...ty person, but I am also a big believer in justice and at the moment I feel it's the justice system that is letting so many people such as myself down."

Ms Sdrinis described the court delays as "frustrating and traumatising" for the woman.

The man is expected to face court again in the coming months.

A spokesperson said the state government couldn't comment on an individual case currently before the courts.

However, they said the government was "committed to ensuring that all Tasmanians have access to an efficient and effective criminal and civil justice system in which court proceedings are able to be finalised in a timely manner".

If this story has raised any issues for you, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.



Originally published as Long wait for justice for woman allegedly abused as homeless teen