Posts Tagged ‘Child abuse’

PROTECTING CHILDREN IS THE JOB OF EVERY AUSTRALIAN

July 31, 2016

Reporting suspected child abuse for many reasons might feel hard to do, but remaining silent  is so much worse.

child abuse

Silence is not golden when it comes to our children, especially the most vulnerable.

We as parents, grandparents and as adults need to be open to the signs of abuse and follow our natural instincts.

“In a most cases children don’t make direct disclosures, so we have to look for signs, and if we see any, for the child’s sake err on the side of caution and speak up.” Says Mark Aldridge

Child safety MUST remain the priority at all times.

“They might say, ‘This happened to a friend’ as a way to test the reaction of the person they want to tell. They want to assess whether they will be believed and whether the adult will stand up for them.

“Trust your gut. If you feel that something is not right, seek out support. It is difficult; people are often reluctant to contact the authorities due to a misguided fear of breaking up a family unit.

“If you have even a suspicion that something is wrong, it’s better to call than not call the authorities and voice your concerns, if not open up to friends and family for support to act.

“You don’t know who else might have already made a report” –a teacher, a doctor, a neighbour might have also spoken up. All those accounts help child protection specialists understand the full picture. You are adding your piece of the puzzle to that picture.”

“As a society we have moved away from the idea that the family unit is somehow a sacrosanct, closed space which we’re not allowed to enter. If we believe a child is at risk, we must act.”

Children are often scared to speak up, despite improved awareness about child abuse, so we must be their voice.

“For children, there is improved education in schools now about approaching a trusted adult, a teacher or a school counsellor,” so if they approach you, then you must act in a timely and compassionate manner.

“When there is abuse in the home it can be very hard for a child to go forward to anyone because they are worried about breaking up the family or being punished. Often the child feels as if they are to blame.”

Professionals such as teachers, health care workers and police have a legal obligation to report suspected abuse. I believe this should be applied to every adult in this country and all over the world.

Until we have a legal obligation, let our moral one lead the way, and let’s wipe out child abuse and continue on to demand heavier penalties to deter any future abhorrent behavior.

Mark Aldridge “Community Advocate” Public officer of S.C.A.A.T. (Stop Child Abuse Australia Team)

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Independent calls for Family Court reforms

July 22, 2013
Independent calls for an overhaul of the family courts
Having spent several months investigating family’s SA and children’s protection issues, and having spent several years in the Family courts self represented, one issue that stands out is the horrific fact that “The Biggest or best liar wins”.
Articles on this topic are rarely debated in the public arena, and the any I have written over the years have gained very little attention.
Our family court system and recent parliamentary reports of its performance clearly indicate the need to address this issue as a primary goal, accusations of child abuse are used by many as a tool to secure primary parenting rights rather then to paint an honest picture of the family dynamics.
Making matters worse is the lack of accountability in general, with orders of the court ignored seemingly with out consequence.
Having personally witnessed genuine complaints of abuse fall on death ears, and in many cases tied up for years in the family court labyrinth, compounded by many recent media articles exposing stories of children being ordered into unsafe situations, our priorities must be to see some bloody accountability.
Lie detectors, which are widely used overseas, should become part of the debate, timely action on accusations of child abuse should be paramount, and false testimony met with harsh penalties.
I have always felt that the only early intervention is by that of our lawyers, rather than any attempt for all the parties involved to seek the most equitable and honest out come, for the sake of their children’s best interests and that of any chance of maintaining their sanity.
Early intervention by way of professional guidance, and attempts to ascertain the perspective of the children before all the emotions of separation and the distress caused by the whole family court process drag parents away from the truth, would go a long way in favour of an honest and equitable outcome for all the parties involved.   Lawyers should be kept out of the picture for as long as possible, to ensure the “The Best Lawyer” does not override the best outcome for the families involved.
Its best I not touch on the Families SA report in any further detail than to say the whole process is a bloody mess, and action should be the number one priority for whichever government is elected to power.
So many reports are produced but action is rarely seen, enquiries lack any back bone, with even the Mulligan report swept under the carpet. When a report that exposes the suspicious deaths of over 100 children in state care is never even investigated, is becomes a clear indication of parliaments position, which can only be described as abhorrent.
If we as a society cannot protect our children, and the sanctity of the family unit, it reflects very poorly on us as a community, and on our future in general.
Mark Aldridge
Independent federal candidate for Wakefield