A WESTERN Victorian man is facing allegations he physically and verbally abused his children for two years.
The man appeared at a western Victorian court on Monday to face multiple assault charges.
He applied for bail and had to show compelling reasons. He did not enter a plea.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Wentworth said police opposed bail because they were concerned about the possibility of the accused committing further offences, as well as the safety of the victims.
Horsham police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team Detective Leading Senior Constable Dennis Foster gave evidence.
The court heard the accused lived with his wife and their children. The court heard the man was the children's primary carer.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Foster said the children's maternal grandmother contacted police on July 13. She said the children told her the man had been "hurting them".
Police attended the family's house and spoke to the children.
"Each child told police about instances of past abuse and how they lived in fear of the accused every day," Detective Leading Senior Constable Foster said.
"They described how they had been abused and assaulted over the past two years. Their statements corroborated each other. The children were very relieved when they found out the accused wouldn't be returning home."
The man was arrested and interviewed. He told police he didn't injure the children "in any way".
Police conducted assessments of the children.
One child told police the man had punched them in the head, pushed them into a hard wall, and pulled their arm behind their back while threatening to break it.
"The child said they did not know why they were abused. They also said they were forced to eat meals outside, no matter the weather, and was called a 'dog' by the accused," Detective Leading Senior Constable Foster said.
Another child told police they had been assaulted on "at least five occasions". It was alleged the child had been slapped, choked and punched in the stomach.
Another child told police the man had put his fingers in their eyes. The child said the man bit them and threatened to hurt them further.
It was also alleged the man told the children to lie about their injuries at school and to their mother.
Police submitted photographs of all the children's injuries as evidence. Photos were also provided of the alleged weapons, including spoons and spatulas.
Police are yet to interview all the children involved.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Foster said he expected "significantly more" charges would be laid after the remaining interviews were conducted.
He said police were aware of similar allegations of child abuse against the man in the past, however this was the first time the children had disclosed allegations to police.
The court heard evidence from the man's mother. She said the pair hadn't spoken for five years, however was willing to provide a surety of $1000 and have the man stay with her if he was released.
Defence lawyer Adrian Paull said the prosecution's evidence was "not strong".
"Their case is limited with evidence at best. The photos are not inconsistent with injuries that children would sustain being at home during the school holidays," he said.
Senior Constable Wentworth argued that the prosecution's evidence was strong.
"This is a high level example of this kind of serious offending. The primary concern should be the children's welfare," she said.
Magistrate Bruce Cottrill said the allegations against the accused were of "great seriousness".
"If they are found to be true, it would demonstrate a massive breach of trust," he said.
Mr Cottrill said the accused wasn't a flight risk and the court would not require surety.
The accused was bailed with strict conditions. He will have to reside at his mother's address four hours away, and cannot come within 20 kilometres of the town where his wife and children live.
An interim family violence intervention order was placed on the accused. He cannot contact his wife or children.
He will reappear at court in August.
- The Wimmera Mail-Times has not named the man to protect the identity of the children.
- If you or someone you know needs help, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
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