Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National framework for protecting Australia’s children

As part of our commitment to tackle child abuse and neglect, the Australian Government is developing a National Child Protection Framework.

The Australian Government has committed $2.6 million to work with all levels of government, child protection workers and the community sector to establish a national framework to protect all children.

Parents and families will always have primary responsibility for caring for and protecting children. State and territory governments become directly involved in this relationship when children are at risk of neglect or abuse.

However, all levels of government can help strengthen families and prevent the circumstances in which child abuse and neglect are most often found.

The national framework for protecting Australia’s children is a key part of the Australian Government’s child-centred approach to family policy.

A discussion paper on the framework will form the basis of wider consultation in coming months.

Action will focus on preventing abuse through early intervention and better integration of family services, and will drive best practice across jurisdictions and government and non-government sectors through clearer national reporting and accountability mechanisms.

Quarantining welfare payments by Centrelink may occur on the recommendation of state child protection authorities when children are assessed as being at risk of abuse or neglect.

Child protection systems are under enormous pressure; they are dealing with more reports of child abuse and neglect than ever before.

The statistics are shocking – every year there are nearly 60,000 children who are either abused or are at risk of being harmed, abused or neglected.

Abuse and neglect are five times higher among Indigenous children than other children.

Closing this gap between Indigenous children and non-Indigenous children will be a key aim of the national framework for protecting Australia’s children.