Mom who killed their eight-week-old twin daughter allowed to work with CHILDREN for AFL team

Mom who killed their eight-week-old twin daughter allowed to work with CHILDREN for AFL team

A mother who violently attacked her eight-week-old daughters, killing one, has been granted a working with children permit to work for her favorite AFL team.

Tina Terlato avoided jail for killing her daughter Amanda inside their suburban home in Melbourne on Anzac Day, 2012.

She also brutally assaulted Amanda's twin Alicia, who will suffer lifelong disabilities.

Terlato has since been given the approval to work with children under a new role with the Essendon cheer club, designing banners alongside youngsters - a decision that has left the father of her children 'disgusted'.

'Every time I see her face when she poses up with AFL players or when I hear about her attending games - it just brings back bad memories,' Paul Terlato told the Herald Sun.

'I'm shocked, I'm disgusted, I'm angry. Essendon Football Club and the AFL need to stop her membership and refuse her entry anywhere in Australia.'

The new role sees her helping to design and construct the banner players run through before games, a job that often includes child volunteers.

It's not known how someone with the convictions like Terlato was able to obtain a working with children permit, which is only handed to people with no prior offences.

In a letter sent by Essendon to its members over the hiring of Terlato, the club said 'criminal convictions don't prohibit people from becoming members of the club'.

'Passing police, background check is not a requirement. All members of the Bomber Squad are required to pass a working with children check in order to participate in activities like banner making,' the letter obtained by the Herald Sun says.

'If a member's status ever changes, then we would act accordingly.'

The plight of the Terlato twins was secret until a suppression order was lifted in late 2019, allowing their family to finally voice their anger at the sentence Tina received.

The twins' aunt Michelle Terlato has called for the infanticide law to be scrapped in Victoria, and with states including Western Australia doing so in recent years, it is a push that has now received support from victims' advocates.

Introduced in England in the 1920s, infanticide intended to ensure women who killed their children would not be charged with murder, and therefore sentenced to death.

Over the years it was subsequently introduced in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia.

After a review by its Law Review Commission, Western Australia repealed it in 2008.

While the age limit for a child victim in Victoria is two years, elsewhere it stands at 12 months.

Tina Terlato has been granted a working with children permit to work for Essendon.

Infanticide is an applicable charge for mothers found to be of a 'disturbed' mind and as such was used in the case of Tina Terlato, due to claims of post-natal depression.

While she understands the intentions of such a law, her former sister-in-law Michelle Terlato believes it has been rendered 'archaic' over time and devalues the lives of young children.

Joe Tucci, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, agrees.

Mr. Tucci lobbied hard for the Victorian Law Reform Commission to repeal the law in 2004 and believes now is the time for infanticide to be once again be scrutinized.

'It is incumbent on the law to put children first when they're trying to protect and get justice for them,' he said.

'The fact that there's an infanticide law, it's an outdated law from my point of view, in the sense of the supports, we have available for people now.

'The most important essential tenant of the law is to protect the most vulnerable, and in these situations, the most vulnerable have to be the babies.

'I think there should be a greater penalty for children who are the most vulnerable... the younger the child, the more severe the penalty, not the other way around.'

But it is not just Tina Terlato who has avoided jail in recent years for killing a child.

Sofina Nikat, 23, killed 14-month-old baby girl Sanaya inside her home and then took it to nearby Darebin Creek.

While she admitted to police that she believed her daughter was possessed, Nikat pleaded not guilty to murder.

Psychiatrists agreed that Nikat was not mentally fit and like Tina Terlato, she received a sentence of a 12-month community corrections order.

The deaths of Amanda Terlato and Sanaya Nikat have both come in the years since a review into the infanticide law in Victoria was carried out.

In 2004 the Victorian Law Reform Commission was asked to determine whether the infanticide law should be repealed or altered but ultimately advised the then-Labor government against any change.

The VLRC found that the death of a toddler at the hands of its mother 'is a distinct kind of human tragedy'.

Since then Western Australia has repealed the law, with one of the main reasons for the decision being that any magistrate or judge should take the mental health of an accused into consideration anyway when sentencing.

A similar review in New South Wales in 1997 saw the review commission advise that the law be repealed, however, it was retained by the government.

Michelle Terlato said something has to be done to stop similarly 'pathetic' sentences, such as that handed down to Tina Terlato.

'We as a family feel that babies' lives and children's lives don't really count that much,' she said.

'I feel like I'm justified in saying this because I'm a woman - I feel like it's hard for men to say this because they'll get shot down simply because they are a man - but I think infanticide is a very sexist and archaic law.

'It was brought in to protect women with babies who were unwed hundreds of years ago and were shunned by society or had no choice but to kill their newborn.

'There's certainly no excuse these days to feel that you're in that position, not to have the support and care to be able to look after a newborn.

'We have been fighting really hard for the Victorian Government to look at the law of infanticide and possibly get rid of the law, we really feel it's not appropriate anymore.

'Women scream for equality, but when it comes to things like this they don't want it... well, you can't have it both ways.'
Mom who killed their eight-week-old twin daughter allowed to work with CHILDREN for AFL team
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