Girl whipped with belt

A WOMAN thrashed her seven-year-old niece with a belt 15 times, leaving injuries so bad the child couldn't sit down.

The 37-year-old woman, who works for a charity assisting wayward juveniles, whipped the child repeatedly on the back using a thick, brown belt with a silver buckle.

The beating caused significant bruising and welts, and when the Ipswich Child Protection Unit questioned the child about the injuries, she said she was too scared to talk about it.

The child's brother said on the day of the beating, he had seen his aunt and his sister go into a bedroom, and heard "15 to 16 loud whacking noises" and his sister screaming.

The injuries were so bad the girl couldn't sit down or lean back when she was in the car.

Police prosecutor Constable David Thiel told Ipswich Magistrates Court the woman worked for an Ipswich charity that assisted wayward juveniles.

Const Thiel said the attack was one of domestic discipline that was far from acceptable, and tendered photos of the injuries to the court.

When questioned by police the woman, who has no criminal history, was extremely remorseful and ashamed about her actions, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said while the woman didn't accept she struck the child 15 times, the "injuries in the photos spoke for themselves".

Mr Fairclough said the child victim had behavioural problems, but his client's actions on the day in question were "completely out of character".

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said the woman had inflicted "misguided discipline" and it was clear from the photos she had struck the child with sufficient force to leave significant injuries.

Ms Sturgess said while parenting was a difficult job, the woman wasn't setting a good example to the children in her care by thrashing them with a weapon.

The woman pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm while armed.

She was sentenced to 12 months probation.

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