Posts Tagged ‘children in need’


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)


Disability and Mental health funding in disrepair

May 21, 2011


That punch line for those politicians, who can only see the shiny dollar, would be “for every dollar spent now, we save more than $100 in the future”. Yet even that does little to change the views of governments who see our long-term future as the period between elections. The rest of us as a compassionate society would consider the plight of our disadvantaged children tantamount or essentially a “Top Priority” when we consider issues like safety, quality of life and medical needs.

Who would you give the lifeboat to first, Politicians, industry leaders or your children?

While our governments flash the often-false promise of school buildings, tiny tax breaks and dodgy insulation schemes, they are using their left hand to steal from other services, leaving the biggest victims “Our Disabled Children and victims of abuse”, with out the urgent support they need.

Disability services, mental health support groups and similar services are not simply a little behind.  My findings are such that even if South Australia were to have their funding doubled tomorrow, we would “Still lag behind other States of Australia” which is nothing more than a bloody disgrace.

Our Federal government has had a free ride for too long now.  Simply because the kind people of this fine Country have scraped together donations to make up the short fall does not excuse their lack of commitment.  They need to realize the citizens of our Country can no longer afford to make up for all of their short comings, both in regards to inadequate funding and lack of services. It is time for our government to get their (our) priorities right.

If money is the only object are they too blind to see that investment now in support, equipment and services will save them (we the tax payers) a fortune in the future. We need to “enable” our children in order for them become a productive part of society, rather than be labeled a financial liability to our countries long-term future.

While Mental health services languish on a meager 6% of health service funding, the demand for services continues to rise as do expenses, well over 400 children on Novita SA, equipment waiting lists rated critical. (Novita have the job of supplying all equipment statewide) With the tiny budget of only $500,000 per year, those in need have a long wait if funding even remained steady let alone continuing in the wrong direction, so you all understand the situation. Less than 5 million would almost clear the waiting list, yet our government and the coalition are making unfounded promises, which still do not hit the mark.

What would we call it if a parent left a child in despair and discomfort, to spend all their savings on a plasma screen?

With demand for most health services rise in most cases to over 9.0% per annum and inflation running at over 3.5%, funding needs to be increased to keep up. A 13% urgent catch up is needed to bring South Australia into line with the other states and would require over a 50% increase in overall health care funding at a federal level. Which is not be on the agenda. A reasonable increase in overall funding with an emphasis on disability and mental health services is imperative.

The words critical, children and waiting lists should never occur in the same sentence full stop.  Many issues have raised their ugly head whilst investigating the funding and urgent needs of our precious children.  Most health services surveyed in South Australia appear to be of little priority to our elected officials.

Rather than considering leading the way, we seem to not even be following. “Social inclusion Campaigns” which have proved very successful overseas have not been embraced. Rehabilitation services are under resourced and underutilized. Even early intervention and stigma reduction ideas are falling on deaf ears.

When we consider mental health disorders comprise of 13% of the total burden of disease and their funding allotment is at around 7%, it is easy to see why the system is failing. Likewise great organisations like Novita whose funding has remained stagnant, are struggling to do their best to deal with not only a rise in costs, wages and other costs, they are also trying to cope with providing for increased demand for their many services. Maybe our representatives could choose which children are left on the critical lists?

Most recipients of government funding expect some financial input from their clients and members or have means testing in place, yet organisations like Novita offer their services free of charge.  They are simply there to support children in need so how dare this government not only deny them a fair share, but also reduce their funding commitments at a state level?

The facts are clear and very simple in that funding must be increased to meet both demand and community expectations.  The financial savings from early intervention and social inclusion/awareness campaigns far outweigh the costs of their denial in empowering our children to play an active role in society.

As I hold in my hand the recent apology to those harmed in state care, adorning our premiers signature, one line in the document stands out “Our apology is given in a spirit of reconciliation and healing and with our commitment to contribute toward a child safe environment in our Government, our churches and the broader community” There should be no more need for apology’s, yet deliberately depriving those most in need is not in the spirit of their promise.

Mark M Aldridge

Independent Senate Candidate

P O Box 1073 Virginia S.A. 5120

08 82847482 / 0403379500