Parents Avoid Jail For Forcing Daughter On Vegan Diet So Severe It Nearly Killed Her
Two Sydney parents have avoided being sent to jail for putting their toddler daughter on a vegan diet so severe that it nearly killed her.
The mum and dad, who can't be named for legal reasons, have been placed on an 18-month intensive corrections order and have to complete 300 hours of community service.
They plead guilty at Downing Centre District Court for failing to provide for a child causing danger of serious injury.
According to the Daily Mail, the girl's diet consisted of one cup of oats with rice milk and half a banana for breakfast, a piece of toast with jam or peanut butter for lunch and tofu, rice or potatoes for dinner.
Police told prosecutors that when they found her, aged around 19-months, she was suffering from a preventable bone disease and was not vaccinated.
She looked more like a three-month old and because her malnourishment was so bad, she didn't have any teeth.
A carer for the girl told the court in an impact statement that she also couldn't do basic things like sit up or roll over, adding: "Caring for [the girl] was like caring for a very young baby. The gains have not come easily. This crime has had a long-term impact on her development.
"For the first 19 months of her her life [the girl] did not receive the basic care to grow and develop.
"[The girl] was defenceless and unable to protect herself from her parents."
Police were only alerted to the condition of the child after she started having a fit in March last year. Paramedics were called to help treat the girl and then investigators started looking into why the child was so malnourished.
During sentencing, Judge Huggett said this vegan diet that the girl was forced on caused her 'considerable danger of injury falling short of death'.
"This is not the case of an isolated act or omission or a momentary decision made in a pressured context, that led to a danger of serious injury to their child," Judge Huggett said.
"This child was severely malnourished, underweight and undersized and delayed as far as age-appropriate milestones were concerned. Neither offender was particularly young, immature, uneducated or inexperienced as a parent or caregiver to young children.
"The fact is that the daughter was their third child and each had experience with babies and their transition to toddler-hood and then young children."
The girl has since been sent to live with other family in Queensland.
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