Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Fighting child abuse

A new committee to fight child abuse by identifying new measures to support children in crisis has been announced by Minister for Community Services Larry Anthony.

Mr Anthony said more action was needed, with 103,980 child abuse notifications and 25,255 substantiated cases of child abuse in 1998-99.

“Our community has to get over it’s discomfort and deal with child abuse, and toward that end I have made 10 of the 14 committee members representatives from our community,” said Mr Anthony.

“We must destroy the myth of stranger danger since 96% of abusers are known to and have a relationship with their victim. More disturbing is that 72% of cases reported were instances where the child was abused by its natural parents.”

The new Australian Council for Children and Parenting (ACCAP) committee replaces the National Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA), and will meet for the first time on March 26 and 27.

While continuing the NCPCA’s focus to provide advice and recommendations on child protection and the prevention of child abuse and neglect, the new council will also look at the broader issues of early childhood development and parenting.

“This recognises the need for early intervention in children’s lives and parenting support,” said Mr Anthony.

The new council will be made up of 10 community representatives, 3 State Government representatives and one Commonwealth representative.

Mr Anthony said the council’s new chairman, Rosemary Sinclair is a long time advocate for children’s welfare and founder of the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN).

“Mrs Sinclair has also been a member of NAPCAN’s National Advisory Council, National Ambassador for the ‘Good Beginnings’ program and a member of the National Investment for the Early Years (NIFTeY).”

Mr Anthony thanked former chairman, Professor Kim Oates and the former council for all it’s hard work adding he was looking forward to working with the new council, whose members had broad experience in the area of families and children.

Australian Council on Children and Parenting members

Chair Rosemary Sinclair
Community Members (existing members)
Ms Jan Owen National Director of the Create Foundation which works for and with children and young people in care.
Dr Sue Packer AM from the Child at Risk Assessment Unit (Canberra Hospital).
Ms Muriel Cadd Chair of the Secretariat of the National Aboriginal Islander Child Care.
New Members
Professor Graham Vimpani Professor of Community, Child and Family Health (University of Newcastle).
Ms Rae Walter Executive Director Ngala Family Resource Centre.
Mr Sandy McKenzie Expert on dislocated youth, particularly those affected by substance abuse, homelessness, abuse and minority isolation.
Dr Bronwyn Gould General Practitioner specialising in child and family health.
Ms Christine Arnott Specialist in family law at the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania.
Mr Mohamed Elsarky Managing Director, Kelloggs Australia and New Zealand. Mr Elsarky has been closely involved with Kellogg’s support of the Kids Helpline.
Existing State members (appointed every two years with membership rotated between the states)
Ms Christine Charles Chief Executive of the South Australian Department of Human Services.
Mr Ken Smith Director General, Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, Queensland.
Ms Sue Birtles CEO, ACT Department of Education and Training.
Commonwealth representative
Ms Robyn McKay Executive Director – Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services.