Category Archive: Press/Media

Media release: NAPCAN calls on all Queenslanders to ask themselves how they can play their part in protecting children

Media release: 30 September 2016

National child abuse prevention agency, NAPCAN, calls on all Queenslanders to ask themselves how they can play their part in protecting all children.

The death of 12-year-old schoolgirl, Tiahleigh Palmer, is a senseless tragedy that has touched almost every Queenslander and rightfully raised feelings of anger, blame, sadness and helplessness.

But NAPCAN urges Queenslanders to move away from blame and aggressive finger-pointing and to ask ourselves ‘what can I do to play my part in protecting children?’.  

Reviews to learn from our mistakes and change how we work with children are important, but the only way we will ever keep children and young people truly safe is to prevent child abuse and neglect before it starts. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has clearly demonstrated that, in spite of organisations’ policies and procedures, perpetrators are still offending. It is clear from this that we need to move beyond formal processes and work towards changing the culture of organisations and communities to ensure that everyone plays their part in keeping children and young people safe.

The sad reality is that Tiahleigh was directly and indirectly failed by many adults during her short life; but rather than focus blame on those people, we need to ask ourselves tough questions about what we would have done, and how we can protect other vulnerable children.

NAPCAN’s National Survey in 2009 showed that less than half of the Australian community would take action to protect a child even when confronted with clear signs of abuse or neglect. This attitude can no longer be tolerated; we need to bring child abuse and neglect into the light, and actively support families, organisations and communities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

Unfortunately, we will never be able to bring Tiahleigh back, but we can honour her memory.

We urge all Australians to honour Tiahleigh’s memory by working together to ensure that all children and young people live free from violence, abuse and neglect.  

NAPCAN is heartened to see a strong focus on prevention in the policies of the Department of Child Safety under Minister Fentiman, but warns that we can’t rely solely on government agencies to fix these problems.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then the entire village needs to accept some responsibility when a child is abused.  

How can you play your part?

Be part of your communityThe evidence tells us that social cohesion provides a protective effect for children. This means building communities where there is a sense of belonging, where people know each other, where families are supported, where children are seen and heard, and where everyone plays a part in keeping children safe.

Listen to, and believe, children – When we look at horrific cases of abuse, one of the consistent themes is the how important it is to believe children and to act. What would you do if a child confided in you?

Help to change the conversation – When talking about tragedies such as Tiahleigh’s death, we can all help to move the conversation away from blame and back to ‘what can we do to stop this from happening again?’. We need to all challenge ourselves about our own behaviour. What would I have done? Do I know enough about the signs of child abuse and neglect? How can I look out for children in my community and help to support vulnerable families?

Reach out for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you, or someone you know, needs support. We are fortunate in Queensland to have a range of great hotlines and support numbers including:

  • Parentline – 1300 30 1300
  • Family and Child Connect – 13 32 64
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800

For more information about how you can play your part in protecting children, visit www.napcan.org.au.

Media contact:

Helen Fogarty, Media & Communication, NAPCAN: helen.fogarty@napcan.org.au, 0410 541 997

Please contact to arrange comment/interviews with:

  • Teresa Scott, NAPCAN President, or
  • Sammy Bruderer, NAPCAN Queensland Manager

About NAPCAN

The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, (NAPCAN) was founded in 1987. NAPCAN’s mission is to support and encourage changes in individual and community behaviour to stop child abuse and neglect before it starts. NAPCAN contributes to the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children by raising public awareness of child abuse & neglect and by developing effective prevention strategies and programs in partnership with communities.

Click here to download this media release as a PDF

 

Royal Commission a waste if nothing happens, warns NAPCAN

The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect warns that the Royal Commission into Youth Detention in the Northern Territory must this time be followed by some real action if it is to have any value.

NAPCAN, one of Australia’s foremost bodies working in child abuse prevention, says the Territory has seen a number of major reviews and inquiries into these issues that have resulted in important recommendations but little direct action that focuses on prevention.

In particular, they want to see prevention-focused outcomes identified in previous reports and inquiries into the Child Protection and Juvenile Justice Systems in the Northern Territory implemented as a matter of urgency.

NAPCAN President Teresa Scott says those recommendations, fully implemented, would go a long way to preventing children and young people having to come into contact with the Child Protection and Juvenile Justice Systems in the first place.

“If we are really going to shift the way that children and young people come into contact with the Child Protection and Juvenile Justice systems, the answer has to be in the way that we prevent it happening in the first place,” Ms Scott says.

The association’s Northern Territory Manager, Lesley Taylor, says there is an urgent need for a higher skill levels and ongoing training in respectful relationships for all staff working with traumatised children.

“We need staff to receive the same kind of training in violence prevention that we give young people in detention,” she says. “And we desperately need a change in the organisational culture of youth detention from power and control of young people to one of rehabilitation, healing and therapeutic intervention.”

Teresa Scott says Australia is fooling itself if it thinks a public inquiry is all that is required.

“For decades now, organisations like NAPCAN have been stressing the need for more resources and better leadership around prevention and a financial commitment to address the abuse and neglect of children so that they don’t end up in detention in the first place.”

“We have to realise that these youngsters in detention are still children,” she says. “The law says that as children they have the potential to grow into good adults, so we have to show them how good adults behave. Abuse is never a way of doing that.”

 

Lesley Taylor and Teresa Scott are available for interviews.

Media contact:

Olya Booyar:  0408 347 409

About NAPCAN

The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, (NAPCAN) was founded in 1987. NAPCAN’s mission is to support and encourage changes in individual and community behaviour to stop child abuse and neglect before it starts. NAPCAN contributes to the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children by raising public awareness of child abuse & neglect and by developing effective prevention strategies and programs in partnership with communities.

NAPCAN has been active in the NT  since March 2000. It operates as an expert advisory peak to government and non-government sector around early intervention and prevention of all forms of child abuse and neglect.

Teresa Scott Bio

Teresa is the President of the NAPCAN Board.  She is a social worker with 30 years experience mainly focussing on child protection and child abuse prevention. Teresa has worked directly with children, families and communities as well as in training, programme and policy development and is currently employed as a part-time lecturer at Griffith University at the School of Human Services and Social Work.

Lesley Taylor Bio

Lesley Taylor is NT Manager for NAPCAN.  She founded the NT Branch in March 2000 and currently manages a small but dynamic team of Community Educators and Prevention Coordinators. Lesley has delivered workshops promoting the safety and wellbeing of children to thousands of people across the Territory in urban, rural and remote Aboriginal Communities. During her more than 25 years of working in child protection and promotion of prevention initiatives, Lesley has developed a keen sense of how strong Communities create safe environments for children. In 1999 Lesley was awarded the inaugural National Child Abuse Prevention (Rural and Remote) Award by the National Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

Lesley’s TedX talk ‘What does being nice have to do with Child Abuse Prevention?’ Can be found here.

National Families Week 15-21 May

Let’s celebrate Families!

National Families Week is held every year between 15 and 21 May. The 2016 theme is ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities’.

National Families Week is a time to celebrate with your family, make contact with your extended family and friends, and share in the enjoyment of family activities within the wider community. It is a time to celebrate the meaning of family and to make the most of family life.

Let’s take the time to reflect on the critical role that families play in teaching, supporting and nurturing children especially as they grow.

National Families Week coincides with the United Nations International Day of Families on 15 May. This day is observed by the United Nations to mark the importance that the international community places on families as the most fundamental units of society, as well as to show concern about their situation in many parts of the world.

All Australians, including community organisations, schools, councils, companies and individuals are invited to participate in National Families Week each year.

To find out more about how to join in the celebrations and activities go to National Families Week.

National Families Week is an initiative of Families Australia.