Melbourne Times Weekly, April 15, 2013, by Beau Donelly


[size=150]Fitzroy forum gives partners of sex predators chance to speak out [/size]

By BEAU DONELLY April 15, 2013, 10:03 a.m.

MELBOURNE women whose husbands have been charged with child pornography offences will share their stories at a public forum in Fitzroy this week in an effort to lower the stigma attached to the family members of sex predators.

The event marks the official launch of PartnerSPEAK, the only Australian peer-support service available to women affected by their spouse’s use of child pornography.

The organisation encourages women to share their stories in a confidential online forum and directs users to support and counselling services. Founder Natalie Walker said the partners of sex predators often felt trapped.

“Family and friends might minimise the situation and assume that she will support her partner and bail him out of jail, and if she doesn’t she’s ostracised,” she said. “And at the other end of the scale her inner circle completely isolates her anyway.”

Ms Walker is encouraging healthcare professionals, teachers and childcare workers to attend the PartnerSPEAK forum, which will be held at Edinburgh Gardens.

“These women are not hooked into any services so if they disclose to someone it’s often a GP or a school teacher,” she said. “These professionals need to know what to do if they’re approached.”

The forum will host panellists from the Australian Federal Police and child protection agencies.

The event runs from 10am on Thursday, April 18. For details, visit