FixedIt: Child abusers don’t get to set the headlines

Jeremy Lysaght pleaded guilty to using the internet to groom children for sexual abuse. The ABC reported on his sentencing hearing under a headline quoting his attempt to blame his wife for his choices to commit criminal offences.

Most of the article was devoted to his efforts to ascribe his crimes to alcohol, depression (self-diagnosed), anxiety (also self-diagnosed), his wife and his need for an ego boost. It should go without saying that many, many people like a drink, have (genuine) depression and anxiety, unsatisfactory marriages and fragile egos. These things do not cause child abuse. The choice to abuse children causes child abuse.

The article’s third and second last paragraph reported a little of what the judge said in response.

Justice Maiden responded: “You have a problem with sexualised fantasies about young girls.

“The offender appears to have little insight into his offending behaviour.”

Journalists cannot provide commentary on trials or hearing still underway and it is not their job to report on what the perpetrator should have said. They can, however, choose how they report on a hearing. A man who commits child abuse and is trying to persuade a judge to give him a light sentence is not the only voice in the court room and should not get to set the narrative of the story of his offending. Journalists can report on the hearing without accepting the offender’s excuses and perpetuating the lies he tell himself.

FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron


1800 RESPECT
Sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Ph: 1800 737 732
www.1800respect.org.au 

Suicide Call Back Service
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1300 659 467
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
www.kidshelp.com.au

MensLine Australia
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
www.mensline.org.au

Child Wise National Abuse Helpline
Mon-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm
Ph: 1800 99 10 99