Greens motion calls on government to consider recommendations of the Barnardos Australia Report

Children are too often not recognised as the victims of domestic and family violence. 

The Barnardos Australia Report outlines actions the government can take to take to protect children and young people from domestic and family violence.

The Greens' motion was agreed to in parliament to call on the government to consider the recommendations of the Barnardos Australia Report.


Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (14:42): I move:

(1)That this House notes that according to the report by Barnardos Australia published on 21 September 2022, entitledTruth is, the abuse never stopped: Adult insights on the support they received when impacted by childhood domestic and family violence:

(a)children are far too often not recognised as victims of domestic and family violence [DFV], despite the fact that exposure to DFV has serious and ongoing impacts on children;

(b)one child per fortnight is killed in Australia by a parent or step-parent, according to the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey;

(c)70 per cent of respondents did not know where to go for help as a child or young person when they were experiencing DFV;

(d)63 per cent of respondents were afraid that telling someone about the DFV they were experiencing would make things worse;

(e)42 per cent of respondents did not want to talk to anyone about the DFV they were experiencing;

(f)95 per cent of respondents experienced two or more types of abuse in their home, and 79 per cent of respondents experienced three or more types of abuse, including verbal, physical, psychological, financial, sexual and religious abuse;

(g)although only one respondent used the words "coercive control", many of the experiences described by respondents were reflective of coercive and controlling behaviours perpetrated by parents or step-parents on children;

(h)while 66 per cent of respondents experienced DFV through most or all of their childhood, only 24 per cent of all respondents sought support from two to three sources throughout their childhood, and only 10 per cent of all respondents sought support from four or more sources;

(i)71 per cent of respondents believed they did not receive assistance to talk to other people, including the authorities, about their experience;

(j)impacts of DFV on children and young people are devastating and long-lasting, including psychological distress, low self-esteem, difficulty trusting people, not feeling safe at home, disruptions to sleep, difficulty making friends, difficulty controlling their emotions, inability to attend school and more;

(k)there are evident gaps in current education and training around understandings of children as victims of DFV, the provision of services and professional support available and accessible to children experiencing DFV and the scope of current research and child-focused data; and

(l)there is an urgent need for a new approach to DFV which keeps the voices and experiences of children at the forefront.

(2)That this House calls on the Government to consider in full the recommendations from the Barnardos Australia report and take direct action to protect children and young people from domestic and family violence and abuse, through increased funding for frontline support services, specialised support for children experiencing DFV, robust policy, targeted community-wide and age-appropriate education and cross-sector collaboration.

Motion agreed to.

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