By Eva Csik and Bec Devitt | 21 Jul 12
Cartoon of children in drawing class

21 July 2012

Cultural Diversity and child protection

A review of  Available research literature  into the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) as well as refugee families in the Australian Child Protection System (CPS) has been published.

The paper looks into what areas still require research in order to meet the needs of migrants and refugees settling in Australia while also considering the fact that one in four Australians are born overseas.

Governments at both Commonwealth and State levels have developed multicultural policy frameworks, which aim to address the needs of migrants and refugees who settle in Australia. However, the knowledge from multicultural policies and refugee sector has not necessarily been incorporated into child protection practice, policy frameworks and legislation.

The aims stated in the paper:

  • review available Australian research on the interface between Child Protection System (CPS) and families from CALD and refugee backgrounds
  • identify gaps within research knowledge and propose future research priorities
  • develop recommendations for ways in which practitioners and policymakers can begin to address the current gaps in service delivery, data collection, policy and practice guidelines

Naming and shaming of young offenders

The Queensland Government has stated that the naming and shaming of children who commit crimes could address the issue of reoffending.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleije says that most children who appear in court are repeat offenders and naming them could force them to take responsibility for their actions.

The Northern Teritory Criminal Lawyers Association president Russell Goldflam has said from his experience most young offenders do not reoffend and for those that do he said “they’re are not going to be put off by being named in the media. For many of them it’ll be a badge of achievement.

Remote Aboriginal Community calls for help

The senior women’s council in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in South Australia have asked for assisstance with income management with certain families as they believe it will help stop domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.

Yanyi Bandicha, who chairs the women’s council, has said that she would like to see the community being involved with choosing families that are in need.

We need help. This place – it’s not the kids are skinny, but the communities are skinny, with nothing. It’s empty” she said.

The women say they have had enough with the violence, abuse and neglect that arises in their community due to poverty.

Push For scrapping of Abstudy

Over the weekend, the Liberal National Party convention, held in Queensland, voted for the scrapping of Abstudy. Abstudy is a Commonwealth program that provides financial assistance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are studying or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship.

The young LNP proposed the motion, putting forward the argument that indigenous students should be part of mainstream schemes.

Dr Nicholas Biddle, fellow at the Australian National University, writes that it is not only financial gains that come from improving the education of indigenous people. Dr Biddle suggests there is also strong evidence showing Indigenous children with well-educated parents have “better health outcomes, higher rates of school attendance and a greater likelihood of participating in indigenous cultural events.

Possible introduction of conjugal visits at youth detention centre

Dr Michael Levy of Bimberi Youth Justice Centre in Canberra has said that teenage detainees should be allowed conjugal visits.

Dr Levy says that many youth contract sexually transmitted diseases and that this situation can be addressed by introducing a safe place for detainees to have sex while acknowleding the issue is controversial.

ACT Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs says the proposal should be given serious consideration. “It is not something that we looked at in detail in the human rights audit, but it’s something we could consider” Ms Watchirs said.

ACT Minister for Children and Young People Joy Burch says “There is no youth justice facility in Australia that allows conjugal visits, and at this stage this is not something the ACT Government will consider.