The Guardian • Issue #2055


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2055

Child advocacy group, SHINE for Kids, has released distressing findings of a national survey which reveals the suffering and compounding disadvantages experienced by the voiceless victims of crime, children. The findings of a landmark national survey have given a clear snapshot of the serious and compounding disadvantages suffered by the over 40,000 children in Australia who have a parent in prison and the concerning lack of government support. Of the carers surveyed, 30 per cent said their children had been suspended or expelled from school and a staggering 50 per cent reported their children were regularly absent. The survey also found that these children suffered from disability at rates far higher than their peers, ADHD and anxiety were reported at a percentage three times higher than in the community, while depression was similar. Only a third of survey respondents said the children in their care were connected to any support service, sport or hobby. SHINE for Kids commissioned the study which was conducted by Monash University in conjunction with the Australian National University, and Griffith University and information was gathered over a four month period. SHINE for Kids CEO, Julie Hourigan, said the findings are an indictment on the plight of children who have a parent in the criminal justice system, and the government needs to take immediate action. “This research is a wake up call for our policy makers in Australia,” Hourigan said. “We already knew about the discrimination, stigma and emotional toll taken on individual children by the incarceration of a parent, but this is the first time we’ve had such an in depth look at the true struggles and compounding issues families are facing, often with little to no support. These children are some of the most disadvantaged and overlooked in our community with a range of complex needs. Not addressing these issues now is leading to lifelong serious consequences for children. They are essentially being punished for their parent’s crime.” Teachers aren’t trained to help these kids, prison visits can be costly and confronting and any other complicating factors like disability, mental health issues or poverty are dramatically heightened, Hourigan pointed out.

The Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch, which represents over 32,000 teachers, support staff, and principals in the non-government education sector, has secured significant pay rises for a large group of support staff working in Catholic systemic schools in 10 dioceses in NSW and the ACT. After 18 months of negotiations, almost all classroom and learning support and administrative staff will receive pay rises of between 5 per cent and 13 per cent, backdated to the beginning of the year. The pay rises bring Catholic support staff in line with their colleagues in the public sector. The union noted that this is a historic deal that has been a long time coming and that the way it clears the way for significant improvements for teachers going forward.

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: The Voice will divide the nation, cries the party that divides Australians into “lifters or leaners”.

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