Grandparents of Mason Parker, Sue and John Sandeman have been battling to change mandatory child abuse reporting laws. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Grandparents of Mason Parker, Sue and John Sandeman have been battling to change mandatory child abuse reporting laws. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Couple take fight to protect our kids to the top

Townsville grandparents John and Sue Sandeman are calling for more child protection resources after learning of the workload on the region's authorities.

Their grandson, Mason Parker, was only 17 months old when he was murdered by his mother's partner.

It's a pain they want no one else to experience.

Troy Reed was convicted and sentenced to life with a non-parole period of 15 years for his horrific crime.

Mason was murdered in Townsville on April 16, 2011. He had a 17cm skull fracture, more than 50 bruises on his abdomen and back, internal injuries and a ruptured bowel.

Yesterday, the Sandemans spoke with State Government representatives and called for more child protection resources.

"If there's a child that's in a dangerous situation they should be removed immediately," Mr Sandeman said.

Grandparents of Mason Parker, Sue and John Sandeman have been battling to change mandatory child abuse reporting laws. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Grandparents of Mason Parker, Sue and John Sandeman have been battling to change mandatory child abuse reporting laws. Picture: Alix Sweeney

"Instead of taking two or three days to do the paperwork. If any child is put in any dangerous situation we would like to see them removed."

Mrs Sandeman said child protection education curriculum should be introduced to TAFE courses for people entering the childcare industry.

"Have a child safety wellbeing officer working at each daycare centre," she said.

"I asked to have more child protection officers for Townsville."

Mrs Sandeman also suggested child protection officers have access to more work vehicles, rather than having to use their own.

The grandfather felt compelled to speak out after being shocked by the number of child abuse reports the Townsville Child Protection Unit receives each day, and the more than 1400 substantiated cases of child abuse dealt with by the Department of Child Safety in a 12-month period.

Grandparents of Mason Parker, Sue and John Sandeman have been battling to change mandatory child abuse reporting laws. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Grandparents of Mason Parker, Sue and John Sandeman have been battling to change mandatory child abuse reporting laws. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Mr Sandeman said he was pleased they would be able to continue to make suggestions to the State Government through a regional director based in Townsville, where they could also receive ongoing support.

The duo are used to standing up for what they believe in.

They campaigned tirelessly for Mason's Law, which passed in 2016 and made it mandatory for childcare workers to report suspected cases of child sexual and physical abuse.

For help, you can call the national counselling helpline on 1800 737 732.

Bravehearts: Counselling and support for survivors of child sexual abuse - 1800 272 831.

Originally published as Couple take fight to protect our kids to the top


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