Aini, a four-year-old, was the youngest client referred to me under Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) cases as a WCC social worker.
She had agreed to testify in court using video. I praised her for her courage because the accused is her biological father who had raped her.
It wasn’t easy for her to describe what happened but she bravely testified after a few moments of silence. Even as a four-year-old, the incident had been deeply imprinted in her mind.
When I met Aini for the first time, she was reserved and scared of strangers. She soon came to trust me after we met for a few times and I saw a glimpse of the cheerful child.
After giving her testimony, Aini began to play as all children do. Her favourite game was tag where we both chased each other. After a while, she asked if she could see the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP).
I agreed to bring her to the DPP but suddenly Aini said quietly to me that she wanted to meet her father. I was dumbfounded! She wanted me to bring her to the courtroom so she could sneak a peek at her father.
Now I realized why she wanted to play tag with me, inching closer to the courtroom door each time. She had wanted to see her father since the trial started.
Although I was angry, I could understand her. As a child, she still longed for affection. I was conflicted with myself as I could not endanger her yet her request seemed simple and innocent enough.
After all that had happened, Aini still wanted to see her father. She was still attached to him despite the terrible incident she had gone through.
Being caught off guard with this unexpected request, I tried to calm Aini and asked why she wanted to do so. As a social worker, I was caught in a dilemma between my professional obligations and personal values.
After a while, I decided to bring Aini to have a glimpse of her father. I also asked her to be quiet. She indicated that she understood by putting her hands on her mouth.
With the help of court personnel, Aini tried to look through the courtroom but the courtroom was already empty.
She knew her father was in the courtroom when she was testifying using video. I couldn’t explain to her that her father had been taken away by the police after being sentenced.
I decided to calm her by saying that she could meet him if he became a good person. She seemed to understand this and stopped asking for him.
This certainly disturbed me. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t place my own feelings. I was sad, disappointed and upset.
I had helped this child escape an ugly human being and he was punished for his sexual crime but inside I was overwhelmed. (The perpetrator was sentenced in April 2018 to 20 years jail and 10 strokes of the cane.)