The tragic death of 8-year old Zion Goltz has shaken the Queensland community. For those who were closest to Zion – his family especially – nothing less than a flood of mixed emotions will be ravaging their souls. They will be grieving.

For those who were acquainted with Zion, however intensively or remotely, there will be a similar, but different, emotional turmoil being experienced by them. These people include his teachers, social workers, carers, neighbours and friends. They will be grieving too.

In fact, for all of us who were introduced to Zion for the first time by reading about his tragic death and seeing his picture published in media reports, it would be heartless of us to not also share these feelings of grief at least to some extent.

When grief hits us in its rawest form, a sweeping rollercoaster of anger, denial, profound sorrow and distress can hold us confusingly captive. For some, it can lead to an insatiable, but completely understandable, quest to blame and hold someone or something responsible. For others, and I’m sure that there are many experiencing this now, it can lead to painful introspection and questioning of themselves about what more they could or should have done to prevent this tragedy. These are not questions however that should be confined to only a few. They are the questions that we should all be asking of ourselves collectively. We cannot tout the often-used catchcry that ‘child protection is everyone’s business’ and then flout holding ourselves responsible as a society when things go wrong in the lives of our children and young people. As a society, we share that responsibility.

Over oncoming weeks and months, court action and the various processes used to review the deaths of children will come into play. If undertaken well, they may elicit lessons that we can learn and constructively apply. These processes will not diminish the anguish caused by Zion’s tragic death, but they may provide a foundation for honouring his life and legacy for many years to come. Now is not the time to speculate or pre-empt the outcomes of these processes. Now is the time to grieve.

On Thursday, 4th August 2022, Parliament’s Community Support and Services Committee will be conducting its Estimates Hearing in relation to the child protection portfolio. PeakCare hopes that during the course of the hearing if matters are raised relating to the tragic death of Zion Goltz that both the spokespersons for the Government and the Opposition exercise dignified respect for this child, his family and all who have been impacted by his death. Zion’s death is not a matter that should become politicised in a tawdry manner. All members of the Community Support and Services Committee are recognised leaders of our community. We are entitled to expect them to publicly display the sensitivity and respect that all good leaders should cherish.

Lindsay Wegener
Executive Director
PeakCare Queensland

 

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