Mum charged for leaving son, 10, home alone to go to party

A MOTHER has been charged by police for leaving her young son alone overnight while she attended a party on Magnetic Island.

The woman, 27, was arrested by detectives on Wednesday and is accused of leaving her 10-year-old son at home unattended on three occasions.

It will be alleged the woman left her property at 9.30pm on June 11 and told her son she would be back shortly, but when the young boy woke the following morning she was still not home.

Police found the child alone after visiting the house for an unrelated matter.

Townsville Child Protection Investigation Unit officer-in-charge detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said the woman told police she had attended a party on Magnetic Island.

"She suggested that arrangements of the care of the child had been made … but investigations have found that to be incorrect," he said.

Police will also allege the woman left her child unattended in late April and in the first week of June, as she was drinking in town.

Detectives are now investigating whether leaving her child unattended is something that happened regularly.

Queensland is the only state that specifies that a child must not be left alone if they are under the age of 12.

The law states a "person who, having the lawful care or charge of a child under 12 years, leaves the child for an unreasonable time without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child during that time commits a misdemeanour".

Sen-Sgt Miles said it was a regular offence investigated by police.

"The reality is I think a lot of people think it's OK because 'my kid knows what to do, I've told them what to do'," he said.

"But at the end of the day, children under the age of 12 are ill-equipped to care for themselves, and/or care for younger siblings and they should not be left in those sort of circumstances."

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said the legislation needed better definition and discretion.

"Any ordinary person might understand the circumstances of someone ducking into a milk bar, or a kid walking to school, but you wouldn't think that would be criminalised, but it can be under the legislation," he said.

"It should be reserved for acts of deliberate neglect where a child is endangered."

The woman was charged with three counts of leaving a child under 12 unattended.

She was given police bail and is expected to face Townsville Magistrates Court on June 26.



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