No. 14, 2021 | 3 September 2021
From FRSA's Executive Director
Next week is National Child Protection Week (5-11 September) and with the recent COVID Delta outbreak in Australia no time, more than now, feels so pressing in ensuring our children are safe and protected.
At the recent Annual Meeting of the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing, National Children’s Commissioner, Anne Hollonds, provided some advance insight into the current consultation she is conducting – talking to Children around Australia. This consultation is being conducted to aid in informing the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children and therefore, there is a strong focus on how safe children are feeling. Regrettably a number of children she is talking to are not feeling safe.
This year’s National Child Protection Week theme is:
Every child, in every community, needs a fair go.
To treat all of Australia’s children fairly, we need to make sure every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy.
This theme brings into sharp relief that children do not exist in isolation. They are parts of families and communities and unless those families and communities are supported, our children cannot thrive. This understanding, of course, forms the basis of the work our sector does – day in, day out. We know that many FRSA members are experiencing increases in demand and/or an increase in the support needed by many existing clients. Job loss, unpaid time in quarantine or in lockdown, crowded living conditions, anxiety about bringing the ‘virus’ home – these and a range of other stressors are impacting families across Australia but especially places in extended lockdown. For some families, this stress boils over and the safety of children is put to the test.
Just yesterday I was talking to one of our member representatives in Melbourne and she spoke about the feelings of hopelessness about the future – about not being able to imagine a future – that people were starting to feel. She talked about how this made it hard for parents to talk to their children about the pandemic. Melbourne, has of course, experienced some of the longest and the toughest lockdown restrictions in the world. It’s tough for everyone there, and for many across the country. For some families it’s an absolute pressure cooker.
I sincerely believe that unless Government takes bold and decisive action, as it did at the start of the pandemic, to ensure ongoing financial support for families who need it, and make sure that everyone is cared for in this crisis, other attempts to strengthen the protection of children may be compromised.
We will get through this crisis. But if we want today’s children to truly thrive in the future we need to be able to give them hope. And to do this, we need to give parents and carers hope too. What we need now, led by governments, is first and foremost a culture of care and belonging; not one of compliance.
FRSA Executive Director
Annual meeting National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing
Last week FRSA joined 120 attendees online for Families Australia’s annual meeting of the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing.
The meeting provided a good overview of next steps for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031. It included an address from the Hon. Michelle Landry MP, Australian Government Assistant Minister for Children and Families and a panel discussion with the National Children’s Commissioner, representatives of the Department of Social Services and the National Office for Child Safety, and the National Coalition Steering Group.
FRSA is eagerly looking forward to the formal announcement of the successor 10-year plan in the coming months.
Australia to trial domestic violence deterrence program
The Government has announced it is committing $4.2 million to trial a new domestic violence deterrence program as part of its commitment to end violence against women and children.
The Coordinated Enforcement and Support to Eliminate (CEASE) Domestic Violence Program aims to deter perpetrators from reoffending through overt monitoring and clear consequences for further offending, particularly repeat intimate partner violence.
The trial is being modelled on the Intimate Partner Violence Initiative (IPVI) developed by the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College, New York, and first introduced in High Point, North Carolina.
The CEASE Domestic Violence Program will be the first trial run outside of the US and will be delivered by the Australian Institute of Criminology, working closely with state and territory partners.
The program trial is set to begin at the end of 2021 and state and territory governments will be invited to nominate jurisdictions to participate that have high rates of domestic violence reoffending. Read more.
Australians reaching out for help in record numbers
Four of Lifeline’s busiest days in its 57-year history were recorded in August, with the service receiving a record 3,501 calls on Thursday, 16 August, according to new data released by Lifeline Australia.
“The incredible number of Australians reaching out is a reminder that this is a physical and mental health pandemic,” said Lifeline Australia chair, John Brogden.
Lifeline is on track for its busiest year ever with 694,400 calls for help in the year to date. Read more.
Youth programs key to reducing family violence
Teaching young people how to identify healthy and respectful relationships helps mitigate experiences of family violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, according to a report by the Australian National University (ANU).
The Family and Community Safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (FaCtS) study analysed responses from 1,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to understand how to reduce family violence in their communities.
The Indigenous-led study found support services must be orientated around families and broader kinship systems.
“We found that culturally informed education programs work,” said study director Dr Jill Guthrie, from the ANU Research School of Population Health.
“It is important to have Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander communities lead the change.” Read more.
Federal Circuit and Family Court commences
On 1 September, the Federal Circuit and Family Court, which combines the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court commenced, to provide a single-entry point into the family law system.
In the two-court system, the Federal Circuit Court was the main entry point for family law matters, with more complex matters dealt with in the family court.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Arrangements) Act 2021 passed through Parliament on 18 February 2021.
The merger of the two courts has been controversial. Many in the family law sector are concerned that the merger will ultimately lead to less specialisation of family law judges, while proponents argue it will streamline the process for separating families. Time will be the judge.
More information is available on the new Court website: www.fcfcoa.gov.au.
Understanding the links between women, violence and poverty
New evidence of the link between financial hardship as a cause and consequence of family violence for women prompts calls for increased income support to keep women at risk of family violence safer.
Analysis by Queensland University, as part of the Life Course Centre for Anti-Poverty Week, shows that women on very low income levels are more likely to be affected by domestic violence. It also shows that experiencing domestic violence directly causes increased financial hardship for those women.
- Young women who were in financial hardship experienced double the rate of partner abuse than women who weren’t in financial hardship (25.3% vs 12.9%), and
- 1 in 5 young women (20%) moved into financial hardship if they had been the victim of severe partner abuse in the past year, more than triple the rate for young women who were not in an abusive relationship (5.6%).
Supporting Improvements to the Families and Children Activity
The Department of Social Services (DSS) recently published its consultation report on Supporting improvements to the Families and Children Activity.
The consultation was undertaken over November 2020 to March 2021 and sought feedback on how to improve and measure outcomes for families and children in Australia.
DSS has now commenced the second phase of its consultation, which involves seeking the input of advisory groups that were established during the first phase through an expression of interest process. The five advisory groups will provide feedback on a suite of resources developed by the department, to ensure that the resources are fit for purpose.
ACNC Charities Regulation - update
In the last sitting week, Senator Rex Patrick put in notice for a disallowance motion, initially to be moved on 2 September, but now postponed to 18 October.
As we reported in an earlier edition of the eBulletin, along with many in the charities sector (and beyond), FRSA holds grave concerns about the harsh new regulations for the charitable sector proposed by federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar through amendments to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Regulation 2013.
Last month we wrote to all parliamentarians voicing our concerns and encouraging them to oppose the proposed amendments.
If enacted, these new regulations would mean that charities could be deregistered for even the most minor offences and they would give the Charities Commissioner the power to shut down a charity if the Commissioner believes that a minor breach is likely to happen in the future.
It is certainly encouraging that Senator Patrick has strongly expressed his opposition to the regulations. We hope that there will be sufficient support when it comes to a vote to put the proposed regulations to rest.
Inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
The House Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention held its final public hearing via videoconference on Friday, 27 August 2021, with a focus on the mental health concerns and systems that impact women.
The Committee has held a total of eighteen public hearings and the transcripts of these hearings are available on the Committee’s website.
The Committee is due to present a final report by 1 November 2021.
Improving the visibility of superannuation assets in Family Law proceedings
On 2 September, the Morrison Government passed legislation through Parliament to improve the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measure No. 6) Bill 2021(Schedule 5) will allow the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to release superannuation information to a family law court upon request.
These amendments will make it harder for parties to hide or under-disclose their superannuation assets in family law property proceedings.
It is expected that the legislation will support separated couples to divide their property on a just and equitable basis and ultimately help alleviate the negative impact on retirement incomes that women in particular can experience after separation.
Parties to property proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 will be able to apply to family law court registries for access to superannuation information from 1 April 2022.
The Bill and explanatory material are available here.
Anglicare Southern Queensland farewells Executive Director
Last month Anglicare Southern Queensland farewelled their Executive Director, Karen Crouch who has taken up the position of Chief Executive Officer of Feros Care, after 12 years with the organisation.
Director of Services, Sue Cooke has taken on the role of Acting Executive Director.
“Karen the leadership advice you once gave me several years ago was that if you keep the client at the centre for all decisions, then it’s hard to go wrong,” Ms Cooke said.
“Throughout the last 11 years of service together we have enjoyed many moments of joy and achievement, always underpinned by client-centred principles.
“Thank you for the journey we’ve had together and for your humanity and stewardship. You are a gifted and humbled leader and I’m grateful others will have the opportunity Anglicare and I have had to share in it. I wish you all the best.” Read more.
Nominate Today! 6th Australian ADR Awards
The nomination submission date for the Australian ADR Awards has been extended until 15 October 2021.
The awards recognise both individual and team excellence in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The Awards are open to all Australian citizens and permanent residents, and Australia-based Dispute Resolution teams.
View all the submission categories and find out more on how to nominate here.
World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day is coming up on Friday, 10 September. The day is about raising awareness of suicide in our communities and identifying where and how we can work together collaboratively towards a world without suicide.
Suicide Prevention Australia are hosting a free webinar to bring together key members of government, the suicide prevention sector and recipients of their LiFE Awards which recognise work with significant impacts on reducing suicide. The goal of the event is to provide worldwide commitment and action to reduce suicides.
Find out more about the day or register for the webinar via their website.
Understanding professional development for practitioners working with children, young people and their families survey
This survey invites all practitioners who have a tertiary qualification and who work with children and families. This study aims to identify the training and development needs of qualified practitioners who work with children, young people and families who experience complexities and may also be involved with child protection systems. The survey closes 30 September 2021. Click here to complete the survey.
Women's Health Week
Women’s Health Week is on from 6-10 September. The week is a nation-wide campaign of events and online activities – all centred on improving women’s health and helping to make healthier choices.
Find out more on how to get involved by checking out events on during the week, registering your own event or downloading resources from their website.
Manager – Counselling and Family Services | BaptistCare NSW & ACT
Counsellors- Wattle Place | Relationships Australia NSW
Program Coordinator – Groupwork (CALD and Family Violence) | Relationships Australia NSW
Program Coordinator Therapeutic Services | Relationships Australia Victoria
Men’s Family Violence Pathways Practitioner/s -South East Melbourne | Relationships Australia Victoria
Project Officer, Property Mediation | Anglicare WA
Understanding and Managing Child Safety Risks
Child Wise is excited to announce the latest addition to their suite of virtual classroom training programs aimed to enhance your child safety risk management skills.
The ‘Understanding and Managing Child Safety Risks’ 2-hour virtual classroom training was designed to help you explore practical tools and ideas to enhance your organisation’s risk culture and ensure that child safety risk management becomes common practice for everyone. The risk frameworks can be overwhelming, yet understanding how to best identify, assess, mitigate and manage child safety risks within your organisation is key to being child safe.
This program is suitable for operational staff involved in running services for children and young people. It is also recommended for those who manage front-facing staff or who have responsibility for keeping children safe via a child safeguarding portfolio, including CEOs, Senior Managers and Risk Managers.
Date & time: 29 Sep 2021, 2PM – 4PM (AEST)
Cost: $121 (GST included)
For more information and to save your spot, please click here
To see all upcoming Child Wise training and events, please go to www.childwise.org.au/events
If the advertised dates and times aren’t suitable for you, or if you are interested in tailored training for your organisation, please contact their team at email@example.com or 1300 244 539.
The resource captures 10 insights from ANROWS’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Projects with Action Research (CALD PAR) initiative. Twenty-six action research projects were captured in this initiative: 18 focused on primary prevention of violence against women, and eight focused on creating safer pathways to crisis and support services for victims and survivors.
What contributes to placement moves in out-of-home care? | Child Family Community Australia
This paper presents local and international evidence from a scoping review on the factors that influence placement moves for children in out-of-home care (OOHC). The stability of a child’s placement has a significant impact on the child’s wellbeing and outcomes. Understanding what a placement move is and why it happens can help to inform work with children, carers, families of origin and communities. This paper aims to support practitioners in making evidence-informed placement decisions when working with children and carers in OOHC.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on delivery of services to CALD communities in Australia | ADI Policy Briefing Papers
This policy briefing paper is presented as part of an Australian Research Linkage Project on mapping social services in multicultural communities, where one of its key objectives is to understand the experiences of service delivery and provision modes to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
Attitudes to a post-Covid Australia | Centre for Independent Studies
This report explores the extent to which attitudes to COVID-19, lockdowns and vaccination have changed, and what sort of post-pandemic future Australians expect.
Preparing for the unimaginable: guidelines for organisational response and staff support before, during and after disaster | Central Queensland University
Affected communities need long-term support far beyond what many disaster relief volunteering organisations can often commit to. This project explores the phenomenon of support before, during and after disaster (specifically the floods in Townsville and North West Queensland), focusing on organisational support for staff to inform the development of guidelines to better prepare employer organisations to support their staff in future disaster events.
Meeting social housing need: a tipping point for federal intervention | Compass Housing Services
The substantial shortfall in supply of social housing has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and both state and federal responses to what is increasingly perceived as a major crisis in the social and private renting sectors. This report explores the capacity of states to meet the level of social housing shortfall that is currently evident.
Life, disrupted: young people, education and employment before and after COVID-19 | Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice
This paper explores fault lines that run through the relationship between education and work, such as the contested impact of digital disruption on young people, the rhetoric of soft skills and challenges to the notion of careers, which can no longer be coupled with the idea of a linear pathway to a traditional occupation.
Supporting children’s wellbeing during COVID-19: Staff supervision, coping and wellbeing, and the impact on service delivery | Inspiring Children’s Futures Project
This report presents findings from a study into practitioners’ experiences of supervision during the pandemic. It identifies the characteristics of useful supervision, as well as the impact of having (or not having) such supervision on respondents.
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