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Luke Batty's mum blasts TV host over abuse comments

An emotional Rosie Batty as she appeared on Ten's panel show.
An emotional Rosie Batty as she appeared on Ten's panel show.

THE mother of slain schoolboy Luke Batty has blasted a morning TV host and warned new child abuse reporting laws could further punish family violence victims.

Rosie Batty, has led an extraordinary push to challenge family violence since her son's death at the hands of his father at a cricket field in Tyabb in February.

She became incensed during an interview on Studio 10 following a discussion of the Victorian laws and comments made by panellist Joe Hildebrand, Fairfax reported.

She said people failed to understand the fear that consumed family violence victims that might prevent them from reporting child abuse or leaving their abusive partners.

"And you know what happened to me? Greg had finally lost control of me and to make me suffer and the final act of control, which was the most hideous form of violence, was to kill my son so don't you ever think that if we don't report it's because we don't want to. It's because we are so scared about what might happen," she said to Hildebrand.

"You have no idea."

Rosie Batty with her son Luke Batty, who was killed by his father at cricket training. Photo: Supplied
Rosie Batty with her son Luke Batty, who was killed by his father at cricket training. Photo: Supplied

Hildebrand, also a Daily Telegraph journalist, while expressing sympathy for women in an abusive relationship, had said there was no excuse for not reporting child abuse.

He said family violence victims needed to be empowered to leave their partners and they "absolutely had to get out", but that women who stayed had no excuse for not reporting abuse against their children.

"Frankly to say that you're going to not report a case of child abuse or child sex abuse by your partner because you are scared for your own safety, I'm sorry it's not an excuse," he said.

Hildebrand has since released a statement and said that his comments have been misrepresented and misunderstood.

"For the record I do not support the jailing of domestic violence victims who fail to report child sex abuse, and never said that I did.

"On the contrary, I said I thought it was extremely unlikely it would ever happen and that under the proposed reforms women in fear for their safety were exempt.

"My comments were in no way directed to or about Rosie Batty, who was scheduled to appear on the show for a separate segment about a fundraiser for her late son Luke. I am certainly very sorry for any distress they caused her.''

"In the initial segment I stated that I did not think anyone in that situation should or would be jailed.

"In the discussion that followed with Rosie Batty, I stated again that there was in fact a specific exemption for people who failed to report child sex abuse because they felt their safety was threatened.

"What I did say was that the safety of a child must be paramount in considering these issues.

"If a child is being sexually abused then I strongly feel it is the responsibility of all those who are aware of it to report it. I also said that to allow a child to be continually exposed to sexual abuse is, frankly, inexcusable. I stand by this completely.''

"The main point that I repeatedly made was that tougher reporting requirements would hopefully act as a point of contact to help liberate women and children from abusive relationships."

The paramount concern for me - and I suspect most people - is and must be the protection of children. We cannot allow a child to be exposed to abuse if it is in our power to stop it."

Topics:  domestic violence editors picks joe hildebrand luke batty



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