We’ve all heard of the horrific abuse of children at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre exposed by ABC’s Four Corners program, and the subsequent government announcement of a royal commission to investigate all juvenile jails in the Northern Territory.
The Valuing Children Initiative (VCI) is harnessing this media attention to reignite their campaign for a national minister for children and future generations.
As well as in response to Don Dale, VCI convenor Linda Savage said a children’s minister is more vital than ever given the barbarities inflicted on children that have been, and are continuing to be unearthed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“It has revealed that children, the laws in place to protect them, and even the adults who spoke out, were no match for the prevailing culture and attitudes that were generally not to believe a child, put the protection of institutions first and enabled perpetrators to resist scrutiny for decades”, she asserted.
First announced in January, with pleas to politicians issued in May, VCI’s campaign has largely been ignored by politicians. “They responded but didn’t address the issue. They were just standard letters talking about their policies that affect children”, Savage resentfully remarked.
She is hoping the VCI’s renewed, post-election push, which coincides with the Don Dale inquiry, will finally raise leadership heads, and will lead to personal meetings with Turnbull, Shorten and Di Natale.
Upon his announcement of the royal commission, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for an exposure of “…the cultural problems…that allowed this type of mistreatment to occur.”
Savage thinks Turnbull is on the right track. “A change needs to be made to the prevailing attitudes and culture towards children”, she proclaimed. “The Prime Minster made this point. Children are no match for the prevailing culture.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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