Ballarat academic bound for Interpol conference

BALLARAT-based academic Professor Caroline Taylor will speak at an Interpol conference in France next month.Professor Taylor, who is Edith Cowan University’s Social Justice Unit professorial chair and previously worked at the University of Ballarat, will talk on improving ways police respond to and investigate child sexual abuse cases.

The five-day conference in Lyons is for Interpol’s Specialist Group on Serious Crimes against Children.

Professor Taylor has previously worked with the London Metropolitan Police, Scotland Yard and police in Papua New Guinea and South Africa on child sexual assault issues.

“Quite recently there’s been cutting edge findings particularly around disclosure,” Professor Taylor said.

“It’s about getting a child to disclose what has happened to them and getting that testimony into the legal system.”

She said one of the key issues was what prompted children to disclose sexual abuse, which she said could often be finding out there were other victims or being concerned about the welfare of other children.

“Older children can begin to worry the offender will start abusing others and that can be a real trigger. It can be a real selfless act.”

Professor Taylor said she would also speak on the shame and self-blame victims often felt.

“There are a range of factors police must be aware of when interviewing a child.

“You get better quality evidence if you have an understanding of the life world the child has lived through.

“Disclosure is the most dangerous time, trauma wise, because very often disclosure is crisis driven.

“Police need to act in a way that says ‘we care about your whole welfare here’.”

Professor Taylor, who also gives specialist evidence in court cases, including the recent Brother Robert Best trial, said it was a privilege to be invited to speak at the conference.

“If you get the right researcher, and the empirical evidence to support what the police do and what happens to the victims, then it really improves police practice.

“We need to get children to disclose quickly and get an effective wholistic response because currently it doesn’t happen. “People are disclosing years after the abuse and we know now that sex offenders usually have a huge number of victims, so quick disclosure is the key to unlocking all those other victims.”

Read full article from The Courier.

Victim’s age influences rape prosecutions

PETER CAVE: Groundbreaking Victorian research has found sexual assault victims aged in their twenties and thirties may be less likely to succeed in prosecuting their alleged offenders.

Criminologists have analysed Victoria Police files and found that alcohol use and mental illness may also work against a case succeeding.

Their study is still in its early stages but the researchers are confident their findings will help police forces around Australia and overseas.

From Melbourne, Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The researchers have closely analysed the Victoria Police sexual assault files of 96 female victims and nine male victims.

They’ve looked at cases where the offender was successfully prosecuted and others where the case fell apart.

They’ve considered things like the relationship of the alleged offender to the victim, their gender, the location of the alleged assault and whether or not there were any witnesses.

Criminologist Caroline Taylor from Edith Cowan University says victims aged between 31 and 40 seemed to have been less successful in prosecuting their alleged offender.

CAROLINE TAYLOR: But older victims and younger victims, that is those who were reporting offences that occurred at a much younger age, tended to have a more successful outcome and we can’t draw conclusions from that about whether that’s the quality of what police did.

What it may well suggest is that there are a range of characteristics for that age group that unfortunately make investigating these cases very difficult.

We also have to deal with the issue of complaints withdrawn which are often around that age group as well.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Could it be that it’s something to do with the social context that the assault has perhaps occurred? Perhaps it’s been while someone’s been out socialising in a nightclub or a bar or afterwards?

CAROLINE TAYLOR: Well one of the things – one of the characteristics that we looked at in the study was the number of both victims and also offenders who reported alcohol and drugs being an issue at the time of the offence, and so who knows that they – those factors may well make these cases more complex and more difficult to respond to, both for the victim and both for the offender.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: A long delay in reporting an alleged assault also seems to work against a successful prosecution, and Dr Taylor says although she’s aware the criminal justice system is attempting to improve the handling of cases involving victims with a mental disability or illness, this study shows it is a clear barrier to complaints proceeding through the system.

CAROLINE TAYLOR: That can also be issues to do with whether the victim is able to sustain engagement with their contact with the criminal justice system, whether we’re able to – if police are able to find evidence that might support or corroborate what they are saying, and just the usual pressures that come to bear about people accessing the criminal justice system, not only because of their capacity to sustain engagement but unfortunately what we do see is that where people are quite vulnerable, they find it harder to negotiate access with the criminal justice system. And certainly some of the characteristics show that vulnerable victims such as those with a cognitive impairment were not as successful in having their complaint taken all the way through.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Caroline Taylor says she’s grateful for the willingness of Victoria Police to open their files for analysis and says the force is keen to see how the findings can help them improve their handling of cases.

She’s confident the findings will also help other police forces.

CAROLINE TAYLOR: I’ve actually been really pleased that one area of our research, which has been an online victim survey, we have had interest from police in Canada and the UK about this particular survey because it’s quite a unique tool that we developed – it’s a one-off – and they have been interested in having a look at the survey to see whether they could use that in their own jurisdictions, and I’ve also had interest from police in other jurisdictions in Australia to use the survey.

So they’ve been quite – we’ve had good interest in what we’re doing and particularly because the size and scope of the project is very large and has had a sustained focus on sexual violence.

I think it’s going to produce some really useful outcomes for Victoria Police, for police across jurisdictions in Australia and overseas, and enormous assistance to victims which is what the project is about.

PETER CAVE: Dr Caroline Taylor from the Edith Cowan University ending Samantha Donovan’s report.

Full Story and Audio from the ABC website, click here.

Child porn producers closer to home

One of Australia’s leading researchers into child sex abuse says too many parents are focussing on ‘stranger danger’ to try and protect their children. Professor Caroline Taylor says when it comes to child pornography the reality is most children are abused by family members.

Edith Cowan University professor Caroline Taylor has just returned to Australia after being invited to address the 29th World Meeting of Interpol’s Specialist Group.

The group investigates child abuse and child pornography around the globe.

“Lots of people think when children are used in pornography they think of a stranger exploiting a child,” professor Taylor says.

“But the vast majority of child pornography is produced by parents and grandparents…about 80 per cent… it’s huge.”

She says while technology is helping paedophiles exchange child porn, it’s also helping law enforcement officers find and prosecute offenders.

“They’ve solved cases because they’ve been able to blow up images and see what’s in the background, but even so it’s a herculean effort.

“But we have to remember… for every 10 [children] that they might find, there’s around 200,000 that they can’t find.”

Full story and audio interview visit the ABC website.

Christine Nixon APM visited Friends of Phoenix


In 2008 then Commissioner of Victoria Police Christine Nixon APM visited Friends of Phoenix members as our inaugural ambassador.

Christine Nixon Ambassador

Police Commissioner of Victoria Police Christine Nixon AMP with Professor Taylor speaking at the media conference and launch of Christine as our inaugural ambassador held at the Eureka Tower, Melbourne.


Please click the ‘Continue reading…’ button to see photos of Christine Nixon and Caroline Taylor at this significant event for the organisation (Melbourne, 2008).

















Trots night 2009, Ballarat Bray Raceway

Sharon Mudge, owner of Eastwood Vets who sponsored one of the races, at the presentation of the trophy for the winning driver


CT Bear who was a guest on every table at the Trots night and was purchased by many to take home and be a friend and confidant to many children.


Horse Trials in May 2011

“In May 2011 the annual Friends of Ballarat Horse Trials held in Ballarat made CoP the charity of choice. We were delighted with the committee’s decision and thank them sincerely.  Two of our ‘Friends of Phoenix’ Members, Vicki and Phil Biggs, made a stencil of our phoenix logo that we could use a transfer with water-based ink paint on to the sides of horses. As you can see from the photos it looked terrific and was a terrific day for all concerned.


putting the stencil on the competitor’s horse is Phil Biggs, one of our Friends of Phoenix (FoP) members.



Professor Taylor addresses Interpol on child abuse

Professor Caroline Taylor was honored by an invitation to provide a key address at the 29th World Meeting of Interpol’s Specialist Group on Crimes Against Children held at Interpol’s European headquarters in Lyons, France in early September 2011.
The meeting is by invitation only and Professor Taylor presented a key address to the meeting as well as workshop/seminar.  Her paper will be published on Interpol’s intranet site.

Professor Taylor said she felt very privileged to be invited to speak to a world gathering of such dedicated, passionate and specialist police who are devoted to tackling the horrendous crimes of sexual and physical violence, exploitation and trafficking of children around the world. Over 200 Interpol members representing nearly 60 countries attended the World Meeting where interpreters translated presentations into 5 languages.
Professor Taylor was hugely impressed by the ongoing work and projects currently underway by Interpol police whilst acknowledging the challenges that remain.  Interpol police are among the best specialist police practitioners in the world and they work proactively with some of the world’s leading academics in collaborative efforts against the shocking crime of child abuse.

Professor Taylor has been invited to become a part of Interpol’s Specialist Group in her academic role and regards this as a huge privilege to help support and advance the important work and research of this global police organisation.

Professor Taylor at the European Headquarters of Interpol in Lyon, France in September 2011.

Trots Night May 2012

Wednesday Night May 16th 2012

Racing Starts: 6.30pm – 7.00pm

$35.00 per head

Includes the following:

  • Admission, Race Booklet
  • Reserved table waiter service
  • 3 course meal
  • Tea and coffee
  • (drinks at bar prices)

Fun night with fantastic raffle prizes to be won. Make a table of ten or just come yourself

All are welcome
For Bookings contact: Vicki Biggs 0414 755 699

Please support us so we can continue to allocate scholarship’s to those who are in need of life changing skills.

Student raises funds to purchase 20 CT bears.

Fraser and the bears

UPDATE: Several CT Bears went to the NZ to assist children experiencing grief following the tragic mining disaster in Greymouth in 2010. The remainder of CT Bears are helping children in South Australia who have experienced trauma. Fraser is planning to conduct another fundraiser with the Bears in the near future.
In early 2010, after learning about the Children of Phoenix Foundation and its mission and aims Fraser contacted Professor Caroline Taylor to say that he wanted to help the foundation by raising funds to purchase CT Bears to give to local child welfare services across Adelaide.
Fraser set about preparing and giving a talk to fellow students at his school and in November Fraser contacted the foundation to advise he had raised enough funds to purchase 20 CT Bears. The foundation packed up 20 bears and sent them to South Australia. The New Zealand mining disaster in Greymouth also occurred around this time and someone from the welfare sector in South Australia saw CT Bear and commented on how helpful CT Bear would be for children who had lost loved ones in the mine tragedy. Fraser made the decision to donate a number of CT Bears to New Zealand and they travelled to Greymouth, New Zealand where they are helping many children deal with trauma.
CT Bear is helping many children and assisting many counsellors who work with children and young people. CT Bear has proved popular with all children as a special bear to help children communicate their thoughts and feelings to others and helping parents and other adults by being a great communicator for adults to check-in on the emotional state of children.
CT Bear has travelled far and wide so far. He is at ‘Twelves’ in Plymouth, UK which is a specialist counselling and support unit for children affected by sexual violence; Women and Children’s Welfare services and shelters in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Greymouth in New Zealand helping children deal with the recent mining tragedy. CT Bear also has a home at several schools in Victoria where he helps children feel safe and comfortable to communicate feelings with others and he has a home with many children whose parents know CT Bear is a wonderful friend for their children.
Children of Phoenix is very proud of Fraser and his tremendous achievements. He has shown himself to be a young man of compassion and maturity beyond his years. In 2011 Fraser will be travelling to Victoria and will meet with Professor Taylor and members of the Board and Friend’s of Phoenix where he will receive a special thank you from the Board of Directors.

European Philanthropist makes generous donation

Children of Phoenix is delighted to announce that an overseas philanthropist recently made a significant donation to the foundation.  The philanthropist wishes to remain anonymous but made the donation following a request to meet personally with Professor Taylor whilst visiting Australia.  The philanthropist, who lives in Europe, advised Professor Taylor that someone very close to him was greatly assisted by her published work and as a consequence his wish was to support the mission of the foundation through a very generous donation to the scholarship program.  Professor Taylor and the board are delighted with this donation and the potential ongoing relationship and support from this compassionate and generous philanthropist.  Later in the year Professor Taylor will travel to Europe at the invitation of the philanthropist for a personal meeting.

Christine Nixon announced as Ambassador

Christine Nixon, Ambassador, Children of Phoenix

Children of Phoenix are honoured and pleased to announce that Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Christine Nixon APM, will be the Ambassador for the organisation. Ms Nixon is an advocate of sexual assault victims, with survivors holding her in high esteem.

Christine has played key roles in the establishment of various key statewide committees that bring together key stakeholders and services to collaborate for effective responses to eliminate violence against women and children.  Under Christine’s leadership, Victoria Police have taken a social leadership role with regard to sexual violence and family violence affecting the lives of children and adults and addressing the needs of disaffected and disengaged youth in our society.

In 2001 when she was sworn in as Chief Commissioner she was the first woman to lead a police force in Australia .

Respected by all members of the community Ms Nixon stated in her inaugural speech that “I will focus on those priority areas of key concern to our citizens – crime control, safer homes and public places and the reduction of violence.”

In seeing that through Ms Nixon has worked on and launched a number of projects that help to raise awareness of and stop domestic violence and also sexual assault in our communities.

Ms Nixon said Victoria Police is committed to providing victims of sexual assault and family violence with a supportive and professional response and it is continually exploring opportunities to further improve the quality of its service.

“When Victoria Police responds to incidents of family violence and sexual assault we demonstrate that abuse against women and children is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our community at any time,” Ms Nixon said.

‘Through police intervention we aim to help protect victims from additional harm at times when they are most vulnerable and with investigation and prosecution of criminal offences we hope to reduce the prevalence of family violence and sexual abuse in the community.

Ms Nixon said Victoria Police welcomes any initiative which seeks to help victims of sexual abuse and violence rebuild their lives.

“Children of Phoenix are striving to assist victims of sexual assault move on with their lives by supporting their educational needs. I am pleased to be associated with Children of Phoenix and would encourage members of the community to support their work.”

Prof. Taylor, founder of Children of Phoenix said she is “thoroughly delighted and humbled” to have Christine as our first ever Ambassador adding, “Christine is an inspiration to young people and adults of all ages, not just in Victoria but across Australia .  Her style of leadership and genuine empathy and passion to create a more just society for everyone mark her as a role model of significance, especially for young people.”