Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Every Child is Important

What sort of society are we that tolerates more than 115,000 reported cases of child abuse in Australia last year Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, asked today.

Mr Anthony was speaking at the launch of the Australians Against Child Abuse Every Child is Important advertising campaign that will focus on giving children a safe and happy childhood.

“One of the most disturbing facts is that this could be the tip of the iceberg because we don’t know how many cases go unreported. In Victoria alone, there were almost 37,000 notifications of child abuse in 2000/01.

“Child protection is not an issue for Governments alone. We all have a responsibility to keep children safe. This advertising campaign by Australians Against Child Abuse will focus on encouraging the public to take a more active part in protecting the safety of our children.

“Research shows that adults who were abused as children are at greater risk of suicide, self-harm, depression, and drug or alcohol addiction. The harmful effects of abuse and neglect can stay with people through their lives.

“Child abuse leaves a destructive path that can continue for years in an abused individual’s life and those close to them. Not only is their life damaged, but often the lives of families and friends. Future relationships are also deeply affected.

“This campaign has been made possible through the enormous effort by Australians Against Child Abuse to gain support from the government and business sectors.

“Whilst the Coalition Government has funded the campaign $200,000, around 80 per cent of production costs were met through in-kind work. The campaign will be promoted through donated advertising space worth $1.8 million. SBS is the newest partner in the campaign.

“To make headway into stopping this hideous crime we need the help of the whole community. Those who are involved with children, including teachers, child care workers, child health professional, and of course parents have to work together to make a difference,” Mr Anthony said.