Childrens rights, more or less

by PeakCare Qld on 8th December 2015

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Minister Fentiman delivers enthralling speech at PeakCare's AGM

by PeakCare Qld
on 12th December 2016

If you were unable to attend PeakCare’s AGM on Wednesday, 7th December 2016, make sure you read the enthralling speech delivered by the Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP, Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.

PeakCare's Board for 2017

by PeakCare Qld
on 12th December 2016

Your candidates for PeakCare's Board for 2017

by PeakCare Qld
on 30th November 2016

New Family and Child Connect services (FaCC), Intensive Family Support services (IFS) and specialist Domestic and Family Violence services

by PeakCare Qld
on 18th August 2016

The Queensland Government Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (the department) wishes to advise of the release of an Expression of Interest (EOI) for Mount Isa / Gulf Family Support and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention and Support Services

More about the Royal Commission into the South Australian child protection system

by PeakCare Qld
on 18th August 2016

The South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission Report, The life they deserve, was released in early August 2016. The report is presented in two volumes. The first volume sets out what the Royal Commission did to examine the adequacy of current laws and policies to protect children and young people, system deficits and 260 recommendations addressing a wide range of structural, system and practice aspects across the SA government and service system. The second volume contains 5 case studies that examine the operation of the system and practice quality in specific areas. Four focus on the individual circumstances of young children, intervening in high risk families, leaving care, and children with complex needs in out of home care.

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As per legislative requirements, Megan Mitchell, the inaugural National Children’s Commissioner, prepares an annual report about her activities, and children’s and young people’s enjoyment and exercise of their human rights in Australia. Although dedicated to all children and young people, the position pays particular attention to children who are at risk or vulnerable, where their rights are denied, disputed, neglected or violated and their voices go unheard. The National Children’s Commissioner recently presented her third annual report, “Children’s Rights Report 2015”, to the Commonwealth Attorney-General.

The National Children’s Commissioner’s work is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and she works closely with state and territory children’s commissioners, advocates and/ or guardians. The “Children’s Rights Report 2015” describes the Commissioner’s work to promote discussion and awareness of children’s rights in Australia and the results of two projects over 2014-15 - the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people under the age of 18 years, and children’s rights as consumers. The report includes 16 recommendations.

Building on early consultations in the position, the Commissioner explains that her work is guided by five key themes: children’s and young people’s right to be heard in decision-making processes; freedom from violence, abuse and neglect; the opportunity to thrive particularly for the most marginalised and vulnerable children; engaged citizenship through education and awareness raising; and action and accountability at a systems level to protect children’s and young people’s wellbeing and rights.

The chapter dealing with the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people is timely given the interest and investment in responses by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. Featuring prominently in the recommendations are calls for research into the variability in the impact of domestic and family violence on children and young people, including through sibling violence, and the accessibility of, or effectiveness, of interventions. The Commissioner also asserts the importance of publically reported, comprehensive, quality data to improve understanding about the prevalence and impact of this violence on children and young people. She makes a number of recommendations for changes to current data collection practices such as distinguishing children’s experiences from those of adults; including data about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex status; and achieving national consistency in the coding of offender relationships to child victims. A recommendation is also included about states and territories reporting on their efforts towards implementing the nationally agreed data collection and reporting framework.

Recommendations of particular interest at the intersection of domestic and family violence, and child protection include the review of entry criteria to the Magellan Project, the interface between the state child protection jurisdiction and the family law system where there are allegations of the child abuse. Others focus on options for data collection through the National Perinatal Data Collection on screening for domestic and family violence during pregnancy and that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) prioritise developing a child focused policy framework for responses to family and domestic violence.

Two recommendations specifically focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s health and developmental outcomes: continued funding for the Menzies School of Health Research’s work on data linkage to improve developmental outcomes in the Northern Territory and supporting Professor Arabena and the Indigenous Health Equity Unit, University of Melbourne, around the early intervention research agenda under the First 1000 Days initiative. The “Children’s Rights Report 2015” also refers to the Commissioner’s ongoing work to support suicide prevention initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

As reported by the media, the “Children’s Rights Report 2015” includes alarming data about the rate of adults who as a child experienced physical abuse by a family member (1 in 12 people), the number of people who have suffered sexual abuse (1 in 28 people), and the disproportionate effects of violence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children.    

The chapter on children and young people as consumers of goods and services refers to a literature review and consultations with students and young people. Children were found to be very active consumers but little is known about how they are affected as consumers, or about the potential opportunities to pursue greater safeguards. Research to better understand children as consumers, particularly in the high risk, online consumer environment is recommended, as is consideration of how current regulatory frameworks shape business efforts around awareness raising among children about their consumer rights.

A chapter examines child rights in legislation and court proceedings and is of interest as the Commissioner highlights Commonwealth Bills that had a substantially positive or a substantially negative impact on child rights, including Bills around migration, unaccompanied minors, tele-communications, and social security. The report details other initiatives and various submissions by the Commissioner, plus sets out progress in implementing responses to recommendations from previous Children’s Rights Reports.

Check out the report on the Human Rights Commission website.



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