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An exhibition of young people’s Love Bites artwork has been featured by Channel 7 in Gladstone, Queensland.

The pieces were created during the Love Bites program presented by dedicated facilitators who are part of the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Family Violence (CCRDFV) in Gladstone and were displayed by Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum.

The display of artwork illustrates the effectiveness of Love Bites in engaging young people and encouraging them to take a stand and make different choices for themselves and their relationships. Love Bites provides a platform for young people to speak out and educate their community about family violence and sexual assault. Sergeant Vicki Dredge who coordinates Love Bites in the region explained, “the students become part of the campaign so they start to understand the meaning behind it”.

Congratulations to all students and facilitators in the region on the fantastic exhibition.





The Children and Young People’s Advisory Council recently met with Mark Morrissey, the Commissioner for Children in Tasmania. The Council members discussed issues important to them including education, bullying, the environment, multicultural and religious diversity and how to develop good communities.

Another round of meeting is being planned for July this year. The input from the council members will be used in a report which the Commissioner will present to Parliament later this year.

Listen to the audio below.

Young people under the age of 18 are invited to join the Children and Young People’s Advisory Council group in Tasmania. Children and young people from all backgrounds, cultures and locations are invited to apply.  The Council is divided into three regional groups which will each meet the Commissioner twice a year in Launceston, Burnie or Hobart to talk about local, state and national issues affecting children and young people in Tasmania. For more information, click here.


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.

Do you know someone who is doing something inspiring to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people?

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The Play Your Part Awards recognise inspiring initiatives which reduce children’s risk of experiencing abuse and neglect. Nominations are welcome for activities which contribute to keeping children safe and well whilst helping to build communities in which they can thrive.

Through showcasing the stories behind the Play Your Part Awards, we hope to encourage more individuals, organisations and communities to play their part in keeping children and young people safe. Nominations are encouraged for small and large initiatives that are making a difference!

Anyone can nominate an initiative or an individual for an award. For more information go to http://napcan.org.au/ncpw/play-your-part-awards/

Nominations close Monday 23 May 2016.

The recipients of the Play Your Part Awards will be announced in National Child Protection Week 4th – 10th September 2016.

Please spread the word about the Play Your Part Awards and make sure those making a difference get the recognition they deserve.

Patchwork is a smart, secure web-app for better practitioner collaboration around clients.

Patchwork essentially works like a ‘super-charged phone directory’ that lets you share your contact details with other practitioners working together with your client, enabling you to understand what other service(s) your client is accessing.

Patchwork cuts the amount of time it takes to coordinate care around a common client, allowing front-line workers to spend more time where they are really needed – working with their clients. In this way, Patchwork helps practitioners work together to address a vulnerable person’s needs quickly and in the most appropriate way, which leads to better outcomes for their clients.

You can watch a short video explaining Patchwork and sign up by visiting www.patchworknsw.net.au and registering your details on the homepage under “Get started with Patchwork today”. After submitting your details, we will be in touch to complete the registration process. Meanwhile, you will be able to access all of Patchwork’s support resources and training videos on our website.

Children’s Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia which celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. It is also a time to demonstrate children’s talents, skills and abilities with a diverse range of events and activities organised at local, state and national levels.

Children’s Week will be held from October 22 – October 30 2016. This year’s theme is “Children Have the Right to Reliable Information from the Media.”

For more information about the Week, visit http://www.childrensweek.org.au/.

Below is the Children’s Week 2016 official message from the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).

Children's Week GG Letter

Authors: Wendy O’Brien, Deakin University and Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Monash University

Among the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence’s most important recommendations is the powerful acknowledgement that family violence has devastating effects on children. Commissioner Marcia Neave described children as the “silent victims” of family violence.

This important emphasis has been a long time coming.

The commission noted that children have conventionally been overlooked as victims of family violence. This is the legacy of limited or incomplete data-gathering, siloed responses, and complicated referral processes. The result is children enduring harm without the specialised supports to help them cope with the trauma of family violence.

Witnessing violence is experiencing violence

There are myriad ways in which children experience violence in family settings. Children may endure violence directly, or witness violence perpetrated on others. Both scenarios result in severe adverse effects for children in the short and long term.

The impacts that family violence has on children have been broadly acknowledged at the national level. Yet the commission’s suite of recommendations about service responses for child victims of family violence are welcome. They are a highly practical mechanism for ensuring that children’s well-being is a central consideration in reforming Victoria’s family violence services.

Central to the commission’s recommendations is the provision of priority funding to increase specialised therapeutic counselling for children affected by family violence.

Other practical recommendations to ensure child victims are no longer overlooked include:

  • incorporating child-specific indicators into risk-assessment processes;
  • increasing family violence training; and
  • strengthening protocols for child protection workers to ensure appropriate referrals for children and young people.

Multiple recommendations are made to improve children’s immediate safety needs. These include improved access to suitable crisis accommodation for women and children, complete with the specialised consultations necessary to support children.

Legislative changes are also recommended, including amendments to allow for the inclusion of children on family violence intervention orders.

The commission’s approach of mainstreaming children’s well-being throughout all recommendations enhances its child-specific recommendations. The establishment of support and safety hubs, for example, would ensure intake teams include staff trained in children’s services and that, where possible, services necessary for children are co-located.

This approach lays the foundation for the multi-sectoral cultural change that is required to ensure children’s needs are considered as a matter of course.

Adolescents who use family violence

The commission’s report also examined the system’s adequacy in preventing and responding to children and young people who perpetrate family violence.

The report found that one in ten family violence incidents reported to Victoria Police in the last five years were perpetrated by a person under 19 years of age.

Where these behaviours occur, specialised response is required to divert young people from the criminal justice system, and to provide the therapeutic support necessary for behavioural change. The report recognised that, at present, there are:

… no systemic responses to the needs of these young people and their families.

The recommendations included:

  • extending therapeutic treatment orders to children aged 15-17 years;
  • trialling Youth Justice Group Conferencing with Adolescent Family Violence Programs;
  • establishing family violence application and respondent worker positions at the Children’s Court; and
  • providing support accommodation for young people with violent behaviours.

Cultural change

The commission reinforced the importance of respectful relationship education as a key measure for preventing future violence. This is of critical importance for young people who are victims and/or perpetrators of family violence.

The commission reported that between 2009-10 and 2013-14, children were present at roughly 35% of family violence incidents. Investing resources in the rigorous design, evaluation and delivery of educational programs for children is crucial in challenging the normalisation of violence that is driven by media images and, for some children, by the violence they endure in their own homes.

There is a need for caution here, however, to ensure that preventative efforts of this kind don’t pin unfair expectations on children to champion non-violent behaviours when so much around them valourises or condones violence. How realistic is it to expect children to bear responsibility for swimming against such a tide?

Part of the answer to this question lies in the commission’s attention to the need for cultural change more generally. If we are to prevent family violence, we must change the attitudes and social conditions that give rise to it.

At the heart of the recommended prevention strategy is an effort to redress the sociocultural power imbalance that devalues women and perpetuates gender inequality. This carries an understanding that wholesale cultural change is required to permanently eradicate family violence. Now is the time for precisely this same understanding about the need to challenge views that allow for the continued harm of children within the home.

Children’s experiences of violence have been overlooked for too long. If we seek to change the narrative that devalues women then we must also tackle the cultures of silence and secrecy that allow for the domination of children.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has indicated that cultures of secrecy function to minimise or conceal violence against children. The family violence royal commission has now found that the violence endured by children in the home has been dealt with only marginally.

Together, these findings convey a powerful message about the urgent need to create the cultural change necessary to ensure children’s well-being.

The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

The Conversation

Wendy O’Brien, Lecturer in Criminology, Deakin University and Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Monash University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

National Youth Week will be held 8 – 17 April 2016. The week is a joint initiative of the Australian, State, Territory and Local Governments. It is an annual occasion to celebrate young people, giving them a platform to express their ideas and views and act on issues that affect their lives.

In accordance with this, Youth Action and ARACY have launched a national survey of Australian young people to capture issues of importance to young people which can be highlighted at the upcoming Federal Election. NAPCAN urges you to encourage young people across your networks to complete the survey by clicking here.

Want to participate in the week? Events are taking place across Australia to celebrate National Youth Week. To find out about events near you, click through to the Youth Week website in your state or territory:
NSW  |  NT  |  VIC  |SA  |  QLD  |  ACT  |  TAS  |  WA

NAPCAN is looking forward to partnering with Leichhardt Council in Sydney to facilitate Respectful Relationships education to the local high school students as part of an a sustainable strategy to reduce violence against women and children in the next generation of parents.

Since 2007, NAPCAN have led the development of Respectful Relationships programming in schools through our highly regarded Love Bites program. The delivery methodology in schools via local agencies has proven to be an effective interagency strategy that brings many benefits to the community.

NAPCAN, in partnership with Leichhardt Council and local agencies including Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre, aim to build on the Love Bites year 10 Respectful Relationships program to implement a whole of school/community strategy beginning in primary schools, building through high school and beyond the school gates to include local clubs and other youth services.

NAPCAN welcomes the leadership demonstrated by Leichhardt Council as we work together to further develop our local area implementation model for Respectful Relationships skills development aimed at reducing family and gender based violence.

In partnership with Western Sydney University, Local Government and community partners, NAPCAN aim to target local area clusters in urban, rural and remote NSW through a local area implementation framework.  The framework will provide a scalable and effective methodology to manage and measure the delivery and impact of programming and campaigns on Domestic and Family Violence in the long term.

“Through commitment and leadership at a local level, we can collectively achieve a sustainable approach to reducing violence against women and children” said NAPCAN’s CEO, Richard Cooke.

The first stage of the partnership with Leichhardt Council will see staff from local organisations completing NAPCAN facilitator training and the Love Bites program rolled out to 400 Year 10 students in 2016.

To see the full media release, please click here.

International Women’s Day will be celebrated across the globe on 8 March 2016. The day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women both past and present.

It also acknowledges that violence against women and girls is a serious problem in the home and around the world, and encourages people to make a commitment to end this violence.

NAPCAN, through its respectful relationship education and community based programming, works with individuals and communities to affect generational change to end violence against women and children.

International Women’s Day is supported by the UN Women National Committee in Australia who are running a number of events across the country. To view events in your state or territory, please click here.