The National Children’s and Youth Law Centre’s collaboration with a law firm, Australian business, the University of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Government provides the only free legal service dedicated to children, young people and their advocates in Australia.
The collaboration won a 2015 NAPCAN National Play Your Part Award for its work in leading reform in Children’s Law, hosting Lawmail and the website Lawstuff which provides information ranging from cyber and school bullying to forced child marriage, family violence, criminal law and discrimination at work.
In the words of clients: ‘to provide such concise advice in such a short period of time for no cost is something nowhere else to be found in the world.’
“It makes it easy for young people like myself who were in deep s… to get some good, free legal advice”.
The 2012 Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales’ Legal Australia-Wide (LAW) survey found that four in ten, 15 to 17 year-olds in Australia will experience at least one legal problem a year. Of those, 20% will report stress-related illnesses, 19% physical ill-health and financial strain in 29%.
Lawmail and Lawstuff help children and young people to solve their legal issues and provide practical problem-solving assistance, therefore improving their wellbeing and safety.
The director of the Centre, Matthew Keeley said that if any part of the collaboration wasn’t there the service couldn’t function.
“Without the University of New South Wales there would be no office or infrastructure to work from and without the financial support of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and law firm King & Wood Mallesons there would be no Lawstuff, which is accessed by over 1 million people a year,” he said.
“Without the pro bono legal assistance of King & Wood Mallesons, Telstra, and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the Centre would not have been able to grow to support over 2,200 young people through Lawmail these past 12 months.”
The National Children’s and Youth Law Centre is a national centre of excellence which was instrumental in changing the Victorian laws so that no longer can children be charged for taking naked photos of themselves under child pornography laws. The reform also makes it easier for young victims of ‘revenge pornography’ to seek help.
“We strongly believe that national law reform relating to sexting is needed.
“We are also researching a national body of work around the impact that a criminal record has on young people, especially in later life.
“We’re advocating for new laws so that young adults are protected in the same way that children now are with the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act.”
The centre was the leading NGO contributor to the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act, 2015 (Cth), which established a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner to resolve cyberbullying complaints and a system of take-down notices to remove bullying content from the internet.
Ms Ahram Choi, the acting principal solicitor of the Centre said that they have seen an increase in cyber bullying and sexting inquiries.
“Cyber bullying, online defamation, sexting, school discipline, expulsions and suspensions, bullying, leaving home, renting, entering into contracts and age of consent laws are some of the common subjects which children and young people seek advice about,” she said.
The community legal centre also conducts consultations with children and young people about laws relating to online behaviour and has developed in partnership with Legal Aid NSW, resources about children and young people’s rights and the safe use of social media.
In 2014 Lawmail clients came from across Australia: 18% from inner regional, 9% from outer regional, 6% from very remote Australia and 5% of the clients identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The Centre’s capacity to serve disadvantaged youth who often find geographical distance a barrier to legal services is significant, especially as according to the Listen to Children 2011 Child Rights NGO Report, jointly authored by the Centre, Aboriginal children aged 10–17 are 24 times more likely to be jailed than non-Aboriginal children.
In 2014, the collaboration helped one in four of all 10 – 17 year-olds that requested advice from community legal centres across Australia (of which there are almost 200). Of all the clients that provided feedback, 91% responded that the Centre’s advice and referrals were very useful or useful.
The Centre also co-convenes the Child Rights Taskforce, Australia’s peak child rights body, which advocates for the protection of child rights in Australia.
The Centre employs four permanent staff, including a lawyer on secondment from King & Wood Mallesons, 20 on-site volunteers and around 200 volunteers working remotely from collaborating organisations.
Mr Keeley said that the positive feedback the Centre receives from children and young people provides the continuing motivation behind much of the collaborators’ work, however more help is needed.
“We are in desperate need of more funding. In the last four years the number of young people that we help directly has nearly tripled yet our staffing has remained the same,” he said.
Pictured from left Rachel Delaney (Telstra), Noam Peleg (UNSW Law), Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Jane Farnsworth (KWM), Matthew Keeley (NCYLC), Joan Jardine (AGD and Thomas Hough (ASIC).
NAPCAN is happy to announce the 2015 Play Your Part Award recipients:
National Play Your Part Awards
Play Your Part Awards New South Wales
Play Your Part Awards Victoria
Play Your Part Awards Queensland
Play Your Part Awards South Australia
Play Your Part Awards Western Australia
Play Your Part Awards Australian Capital Territory
Play Your Part Awards Tasmania
Play Your Part Awards Northern Territory
His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, presented two of NAPCAN’s National Play Your Part Awards at Admiralty House on Friday to Amrit Versha and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre and collaborators on Lawmail, Lawstuff and Online Safety.
Kids Helpline and Optus received their National Play Your Part Award today from the Minister for Social Services, Hon. Scott Morrison at a special presentation to demonstrate the Kids Helpline @ School initiative to year six students at the Mother Teresa Catholic Primary School in Canberra.
The NAPCAN Play Your Part State Award recipients will be presented in award ceremonies across Australia this week. Read more about the NAPCAN Play Your Part Award recipients.
The Awards mark the 25th Anniversary of National Child Protection Week to promote the safety and wellbeing of Australian children and families.
Congratulations to the all the Play Your Part Award recipients.
To mark the start of the 25th anniversary of National Child Protection Week (NCPW), Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has called upon all Australians to play their part in protecting children from abuse and neglect.
“National Child Protection Week encourages everyone to learn about the role they can play in their local community so we can prevent abuse before it starts,” Ms Batty said.
Ms Batty recently told Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence that family violence prevention needs to be taught in every Australian school as early as kindergarten, echoing the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect’s (NAPCAN) stance that prevention through education is one of the most effective solutions.
Statistics released this year revealed that 40, 844 children were confirmed as having experienced abuse or neglect in Australia last year. The 25th annual National Child Protection Week (September 6 to 12) raises awareness about child abuse and neglect and this year aims to educate Australians about the impacts of family violence and simple ways they can create change in their own community.
People are being reminded that protecting children is everyone’s business and that there are many different ways to take part, examples include encouraging children to use their voice to speak up about community issues, being a good role model or advocating for a respectful relationship program to be introduced into your school.
The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove launched NCPW on Friday by showcasing the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect’s (NAPCAN) Play Your Part Award winners at a special ceremony at Admiralty House. The annual Awards showcase innovative community initiatives and programs focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, with all the award winners celebrated during NCPW at events in each State and Territory.
This year’s winners include human rights advocate Amrit Versha (pictured above), the collaboration between the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre (NCYLC), University of NSW, King & Wood Mallesons law firm, the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department, Australian Securities & Investments Commission and Telstra for Lawstuff and Lawmail and the Kids Helpline and Optus’ Kids Helpline @ School program.
Along with highlighting the wonderful work being carried out in Australian communities through the Awards, NAPCAN continues to develop practical resources for the public that outline simple, yet effective ways to protect children from harm. They can be found on the NAPCAN website http://www.napcan.org.au.
See today’s tip on how to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people for the launch of 2015 National Child Protection Week. See the week’s calendar of tips.
Thank you to the Love Bites communities for sharing your young people’s creative work with us as part of National Child Protection Week. We will be displaying more of these fantastic artworks on our Facebook page over the coming days.
NAPCAN is pleased to release a calendar of tips to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people for the launch of 2015 National Child Protection Week.
See the ways in which you can play your part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and families during National Child Protection Week (and every week!).
Download today the 2015 NCPW Calendar of Tips.
The 2015 National Child Protection Week will kick off on Father’s Day, Sunday 6 September, inviting all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. “Protecting children is everyone’s business.”
Thank you for registering National Child Protection Week events
NAPCAN is thrilled with the response from the community to host National Child Protection Week events including Virtual Classroom Presentations from the eSafety Commission, to be held in four states. The topics will include an online introduction to the eSafety Commission to support schools to develop and deliver their cybersafety programs, communicating online and secret security business.
NAPCAN will be hosting a Tasmanian Play Your Part Awards Event featuring guest speaker, National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, with support from the Department of Health and Human Services. A Taking Action to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse event will be held in the State Library of Victoria. The seminar features speakers from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Life Without Barriers, Girl Guides Victoria and CyberSafety Solutions.
A Walk for William coordinated by Hamilton Community Preschool will be take place on Friday 11 September. “We are hoping by building a sense of community with our children and families that we can play a small part in raising awareness of William Tyrrell’s disappearance and at the same time reinforce the importance of child protection in our community.”
The Ballina Domestic Violence Liaison Committee is hosting a Child Protection is Everyone’s Business Event featuring children’s activities: colouring, painting, threading, play-dough, balloons, badges, pictures and stories. Goodstart Early Learning Andergrove in Queensland will be hosting a Crazy Hair Day, for people to learn more about National Child Protection Week and enjoy fun activities.
Register your event today. Play your part to support National Child Protection Week by posting photos from your event or from one that you attend with the #ncpw.
Please ensure if you post photos of children and young people, that their parent/guardian gives permission for the photo to be used on social media for National Child Protection Week. To attend or register a National Child Protection Week event go to: http://napcan.org.au/ncpw/ncpw-events.
The 2015 NAPCAN Play Your Part Award recipients will be announced on Father’s Day, 6 September.
Thank you to all that nominated for the awards recognising community led prevention programs and initiatives, that are effective in promoting the safety and wellbeing of Australian children and young people.
Nominations were received from across the nation from a youth service in a remote community in Northern Territory, to a legal service in Sydney, to a sikh community in Western Sydney and a service to help vulnerable babies and toddlers in Victoria.
The State and Territory Play Your Part Awards recipients will be announced at the official start to the 25th National Child Protection Week on 6 September (Father’s Day) and will receive their awards at ceremonies in their relevant state.
In 2015 NAPCAN is pleased to announce three National Play Your Part Awards recipients. Two of the recipients of the National Awards will be announced on Friday 4 September at the launch of National Child Protection Week by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), at Admiralty House, Sydney. A third recipient of the National Play Your Part Awards will be presented their award on Monday 7 September by the Minister for Social Services, Hon. Scott Morrison.
Launching on Father’s Day every year, National Child Protection Week promotes the safety and wellbeing of Australian children and families by informing, empowering and resourcing organisations and communities to play their part in responding to local needs.
Northern Territory National Child Protection Week Breakfast
Date: Wednesday 9 September Time: 7:30am – 9:30am
NAPCAN in partnership with the Northern Territory Government invites you to attend the 2015 launch of National Child Protection Week in the Northern Territory, featuring special guest speaker Sue Rayment McHugh.
Download your invitation here
Tasmanian National Child Protection Week Breakfast
Date: Tuesday 8 September Time: 7:00am – 9:00am
NAPCAN, with the support of the Department of Health and Human Services – Children and Youth Services, is pleased to present the 2015 Tasmanian launch of National Child Protection Week, featuring special guest speaker, National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell.
Download your invitation here
Queensland National Child Protection Week Breakfast
Date: Tuesday 8 September Time: 7:00am – 9:00am
NAPCAN invites you to attend the 2015 launch of National Child Protection Week in Queensland, featuring guest speakers the Hon. Shannon Fentiman MP and Libby Davies, CEO White Ribbon Australia.
Download your invitation here
South Australian National Child Protection Week Breakfast
Date: Thursday 10 September Time: 9:00am (for a 9:15am start) – 11:00am
NAPCAN invites you to attend the 2015 launch of National Child Protection Week in South Australia, featuring guest The Hon. Susan Close MP, Minister for Education and Child Development. Minister Close will share her vision for giving South Australian children every chance to achieve their potential in life.
Download your invitation here.
For information about events in other states and territories, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Child Protection Week events are taking place across the country from a Pop-Up Playgroup in Western Sydney, a CREATE Celebration Day in Victoria (see the flyer image above), a Child Protection Week Colouring in Competition in Port Augusta, an As Eye See It exhibition in Perth and Sydney which showcases the out-of-home care journey of young people through images and captions; to a ‘Taking Action to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse’ seminar in Queensland with speakers from Griffith Criminology Institute, Life Without Barriers and True Relationships and Reproductive Health.
In Western Australia NAPCAN are hosting in partnership with Anglicare WA a State Play Your Part Awards event morning tea on Thursday 10 September at Foyer Oxford, Leederville. Take a few moments out of your day to hear about Anglicare WA’s ongoing commitment to becoming a safer organisation for children. See how to RSVP and the event details here.
Dr Sue Packer AM, NAPCAN Board Vice President will host the Australian Capital Territory Play Your Part Awards morning tea event on Monday 7 September at the Street Theatre in Canberra. The guest speaker will be Chris Stanilewicz from Women, Youth & Child Health Policy Unit, ACT Health. She will discuss:
building organisational capacity to safeguard children: a child safe, child friendly, child aware coordinating framework for ACT Health. See the RSVP and event details.
Register your National Child Protection Week event here.