The Crime of Kidnapping in NSW

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

A shocking incident has unfolded in which a seven-year-old girl was allegedly locked inside a toilet cubicle by a teenage boy who pushed her inside and stopped her from leaving.

Reports from NSW Police inform that around 5:30pm on Saturday 27 February 2021, a young girl entered a public toilet block at a park in Albion Park Rail in the NSW region of Shellharbour.

As the girl moved into the toilet block, an unknown male teenager allegedly pushed her into a cubicle and then proceeded to lock the door behind them, preventing the girl from leaving the facility.

The girl’s mother, nearby, quickly ran over to help the young girl attempted to force the door open.

At this point, the boy opened the door and fled the scene.

The little girl was removed from the toilet block and police were alerted to the incident, with officers from Lake Illawarra Police District commencing an investigation.

A short time later, a 15-year-old boy was arrested at a home not far away.

He was taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station, where he was charged with take etc person intend commit serious indictable offence, and common assault.

The teenager will face a children’s court on 10 March.

He was released on conditional bail.

 

Outrage from Community as News of Kidnapper’s Release on Conditional Bail Reaches Public

Since the shocking attack, news of the incident has sparked much discussion on social media amongst members of the community, in particular highlighting confusion around the teenager’s release on conditional bail.

Commentary has since included remarks such as, “Why the hell would you grant bail to a predator! Age means absolutely fudgin’ nothing. She is still a baby & he is not far from adulthood, stop him NOW”, and, “Why would he be granted bail when it’s obvious that his intentions were sickening if he did it once he can do it again”.

Other comments have included, “Why give the paedophile bail, kids count in our court system. These pieces of filth get away with it all the time… God bless the poor terrified 7-year-old”, and, “Granted bail??!!!!!! He clearly had sick intentions lock him up and throw away the key. Justice system is revolting in all of Australia”.

Meanwhile, members of the public have also questioned the responsibility of parents in leaving their children, with comments including, “I have a 7-year-old daughter… No way in hell would I allow her to go into public toilets alone! That poor little girl”, and, “I don’t even let my 11-year-old go to the toilet alone. We use parents changeroom toilets. To many creeps like this about”.

Others have since called for the offender to be held responsible, with observations such as, “The parents where within a short distance of the child and watching, hence why they were able to see what was happening and able to stop anything serious happening. Let’s stop victim blaming and start blaming the one in the wrong!” and “You CANNOT rehabilitate these twisted evil individuals. Surgical castration is the only solution”.

 

Life After Being Kidnapped: What Research Shows About How Adults and Children Respond

According to research from the American Psychology Association, adjusting to life after being kidnapped can be a difficult process for the survivor.

In particular, both adult and children survivors tend to experience various stress reactions, which manifest through thinking, emotions and interactions.

Specifically, the mindset of a person who has been kidnapped has a tendency to take on intrusive thoughts, denial, impaired memory, decreased concentration, feelings of confusion, being overcautious and aware, or fear of the event happening again.

Emotionally, survivors of kidnapping tend to go through waves of shock, numbness, guilt, anger, anxiety, depression, and even a sense of helplessness.

Interactions of survivors also experience stress, which is usually manifested through withdrawal and avoidance of family, friends and activities, while it is not uncommon for survivors to feel like they are on edge.

The Crime of Kidnapping in NSW

In NSW, under section 86 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), kidnapping is a crime and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.

Kidnapping offences can be classified as basic, aggravated or specially aggravated.

A basic kidnapping offence takes place where a person takes or detains a person without consent, and:

  • Intends to hold them at ransom; or
  • Intends to commit a serious indictable offence; or
  • Intends to obtain any advantage.

An aggravated kidnapping offence occurs where a person, in the above circumstances:

  • Carries out the offence in the company of another person or persons, or
  • At the time of, or immediately before or after, the commission of the offence, actual bodily harm is occasioned to the alleged victim.

The maximum penalty for an aggravated kidnapping offence is 20 years in jail.

A specially aggravated kidnapping offence occurs where a person carries out a basic kidnapping offence where the circumstances include:

  • In the company of another person or persons, and
  • At the time of, or immediately before or after, the commission of the offence, actual bodily harm is occasioned to the alleged victim.

For a specially aggravated kidnapping offence, the maximum penalty in 25 years in jail.

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