Convicted paedophile's letter to victim shocks family

Prison fence
Prison fence. Photo credit: iSTOCK

An Australian family is reeling after a Canberra woman received an unapproved and unwelcome letter from her paedophile father serving a 10-year prison sentence for his crimes.

ABC reports that the woman's husband has described the letter as another sign of the "bloody stupidity" the father had confessed to in his trial, and any further attempts to communicate would be seen as "harassment" and a "continuation of the abuse" that led to his conviction. 

The father was imprisoned for several assaults during the 1980s and 1990s - his two daughters were among his victims.

His 1400-word letter arrived with the second of two Christmas cards sent in January, detailing his life and conditions in prison, including an attack and subsequent hospitalisation.

ABC reports the man also asked the family to support his wife through her ordeal.

But the family believed they were on a no-contact list and were distressed to receive the letter. Apparently, they were not on that list, but have since been added.

"Even though it seems you are allowed [to make contact], we thought you would have realised from our very clear victim impact statements that we did not want you to," responded the daughter's husband, who also noted only about 5 percent of the letter related to the impact of his abuse on the family.

"It would have served you better, if you had written just those 72 words and omitted the rest."

ACT acting victims of crime commissioner Halan Watchirs admitted the incident was "disturbing", but emphasised that victims needed to request that they be added to the no-contact list.

"It is a concern that proactive steps need to be taken by victims," she told ABC. "Possibly more work could be done to inform victims that they need to do this."

Dr Watchirs suggested this issue be considered in a review of the Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime this year, but defended the ability for prisoners to send letters or emails to the community in general.

"It's a way of keeping contact with the community, and allows them to better integrate into the community when they get out and possibly less likely to recommit crime."


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