Strengthening our child protection systems

Today Abigail supported amendments to our child protection systems, making note that ongoing genuine consultation with community stakeholders is essential at every step. 

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (16:14): On behalf of The Greens, I speak in support of the Children's Guardian Amendment Bill 2022 and the Child Protection (Working with Children) Amendment Bill 2022. The necessary amendments in the bills complement the reforms to the Children's Guardian actioned in 2019, which responded to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Greens have long supported an overhaul and a reform to our child protection systems, which for too long have failed to adequately serve the interests of all children in our State. The proposed amendments to the Children's Guardian Act will ensure a more consistent framework for service providers, including those providing out‑of‑home care, adoption and respite care.

In particular, The Greens welcome the moving of accreditation provision from regulation into primary legislation as a part of the streamlining process. The Greens welcome the implementation of a national reference system, which will allow necessary information to be shared across jurisdictions to protect children and prevent further abuse in the system. Corresponding legislation is already in place across the majority of jurisdictions in Australia. The model has long been supported by stakeholders and follows the recommendations of the royal commission. It is important to ensure that the system is put in place carefully, with particular focus given to circumstances concerning child sexual abuse.

Several non-government organisations have been integral in pushing for urgent reform to our child protection systems over the past 10 years, including Barnardos, Fams, the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies, the Public Service Association, Samaritans, the Australian Services Union, Youth Action, and Grandmothers Against Removals. Further and ongoing consultation at every step is vital to ensure that the scope of our child protection laws and regulations are comprehensive and serve the interests of all children in our State, particularly those who are most vulnerable and too often slip through the cracks.

 

Abigail later spoke in support of Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst's amendment to include individuals with bestiality and animal crush material convictions are included as a the disqualifying offence for working with children in our state and interstate. 

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (16:28): On behalf of The Greens, I support the Animal Justice Party amendment. The connection between perpetrators who produce bestiality and animal crush material and child abusers is significant and has been studied by expert stakeholders. There is evidence to indicate that those who have been discovered as possessing bestiality videos have on many occasions also been charged with possession of child abuse material. This amendment will ensure that the national reference system will be as comprehensive as possible by including within the provisions for a disqualifying offence a clause concerning individuals who have been previously charged with the production or dissemination of bestiality or animal crush material. By doing so, we can ensure that people who have already been charged with animal abuse offences are prevented from going on to commit further violent acts of child abuse.

The amendment was supported by the majority of MPs in the House and passed successfully. 

 

The full transcript can be found here.

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