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Aunt burned her niece and pushed her head under water

A WOMAN punished her niece, who she was caring for, by burning her with a hot hair straightener and by submerging her in water.

The 39-year-old woman pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to four counts of common assault and one count of armed assault occasioning bodily harm. She cannot be named because it would identify the child.

The court heard the girl was placed in the woman's care initially as a short-term measure to stop her being put into State care.

When the girl was aged between 7 and 10, the woman would punish her in ways Crown prosecutor Rachelle Logan described as cruel and humiliating.

The court heard in one instance the woman threatened the girl with a knife.

On some occasions she would punish the girl for poor behaviour by submerging her in water.

"This was cruel and the child would have been terrified," Ms Logan said.

"If the child needed to be disciplined there were more appropriate forms."

The court heard the woman picked on the child and treated her more severely than other children.

The offences were revealed when the girl told a school counsellor about some of them.

The court heard the woman had told the girl to keep quiet, which she did in fear of getting in trouble.

Defence lawyer Steve Kissick said she no longer looked after the child but still had "regular and affectionate" contact with her.

The matter was adjourned for a medical report into the woman's reported diagnoses of depression.

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