Child protection: attacking the symptom, ignoring the cause

Child Protection Report - pdfReport Conclusion  |  pdfFull Report
I hope he can't read

In response to an inquiry into the child protection system, the Victorian government will consider appointing a new Aboriginal children's commissioner to 'improve' services and the 'guardianship' of Indigenous children in the state.

Once again governments employ band-aid solutions to try and patch up situations that were produced in many Aboriginal families by widespread poverty, dysfunction and misery.

Once again Aboriginal people are targeted because its easy to locate the 'normal poverty based outcomes' from people that were forced into hopelessness after two hundred years of authoritarian government legislation.

The history of many Aboriginal people could be considered worse than outright genocide with the continued inflictions forced upon them; by taking them away from their supportive culture, raping and murdering their family members and aggressively separating them from their children and leaving them positioned at the bottom of the socio-economic pecking order with little or nothing to look forward to.

Whilst the repugnant situations children are often subjected to in a drugs and alcohol environment, nothing much is going to improve until all of our brothers and sisters have developed much more self respect and are given something meaningful to them that they can work toward, and are treated with significantly more dignity and a belief that they are equal within the wider community.

The inquiry clearly expresses that child vulnerability is difficult to measure because of the combination of factors that currently affect the child and their family environment. Surely this requires a combination of massive changes within the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

As a starting point governments should be educating Australians about the truths of the past rather than following the same mistakes of lies, deceit, paternalism and punishment over and over again. Governments should be supporting Aboriginal people to address their own problems and in a way they themselves see fit.

If Aboriginal people make a few mistakes trying to address their needs and they have detrimental effects upon them - then so be it - they can learn from that and move on.

Governments have failed in almost all of their paternalistic and righteous pieces of legislation for over 200 hundred years and continue repeating the same old ideas, dressed up in the politically correct 'street speak' of their time.

The Governments of Australia have not only kept a large number of Aboriginal people in poverty for more than two centuries but continue to further diminish any vision for a promising future for many Aboriginal people, their children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren.

Yes that's right, 'great grandchildren' - if anyone thinks that people who have been endlessly punished for hundreds of years can be 'fixed' with a big stick within a generation need to study the situation and read up on the history of humanity - it'll take much longer than we dare to to hope for, to ensure the majority of Aboriginal people restore their dignity and feel at home in their own country.

And we cannot only blame the governments - 'the people' vote for them and 'the people' condone racist views and hatred that prospers within our society.

The wider population needs to be educated about the details of what Aboriginal people have been forced to endure ever since the British invasion and only then will we realise that one and one equals two.

From the report
Chapter 2: Vulnerability and the impact of abuse and neglect
Key points
  • Child vulnerability is difficult to measure and describe as it often results from a combination
    of factors affecting a child, their family and their environment.
  • Vulnerability is not static as children and their families can be more or less vulnerable at
    different times and as different life events occur. However, there are specific factors that
    can accumulate to make a child more vulnerable, and these factors may change as a child
  • The Inquiry provides context for understanding vulnerability and examines the factors
    that increase the risk of child abuse or neglect occurring. The factors are placed in three
    –– parent/family or caregiver factors: history of family violence; alcohol and other substance
    misuse; mental health problems; intellectual disability; parental history of abuse and
    neglect; and situational stress;
    –– child factors: the age and gender of the child; and health and disability factors; and
    –– economic, community and societal factors: social inclusion and exclusion; and social
    norms and values.
  • There is a strong correlation between vulnerability and the risk factors for child abuse and
    neglect and, in turn, a correlation with other socioeconomic factors. These interconnected
    factors need to be considered and addressed together.
  • Approximately 65 per cent of families using Victorian government-funded early parenting
    assessment and skills development services have four or more risk factors, including mental
    illness, family violence, substance use, being teenage mothers, financial stress, and
    parental disability.
  • The Inquiry finds that at the current rate of reporting to statutory child protection services,
    almost one in four children born in 2011 will be the subject of at least one report before they
    turn 18.
  • The Inquiry finds that vulnerability and the risk factors associated with child abuse and
    neglect are concentrated in certain areas of Victoria and there is a correlation with social and
    economic disadvantage. This suggests the most effective focus of government activity is to
    tackle vulnerability of children and their families through locally based initiatives
    and services.
  • Submissions to the Inquiry have shown the devastating personal costs of abuse and neglect.
    Estimates prepared for the Inquiry show that the total lifetime financial costs of child abuse
    and neglect for all abused and neglected children that occurred in Victoria for the first time
    in 2009-10 is between $1.6 and $1.9 billion
Child Protection Report - pdfReport Conclusion  |  pdfFull Report