Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Launch of Australian Childhood Foundation

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today welcomed the formation of the new Australian Childhood Foundation.

Formerly Australians Against Child Abuse, the Australian Childhood Foundation will have an expanded national presence providing counselling, advocacy, research, education and prevention to reduce the harm caused by child abuse and family violence. The focus of the organisation will remain on preventing child abuse and reducing the harm it causes to children, families and the community.

“The Australian Government is a supporter of Australians Against Child Abuse. They received $264,000 funding for their Every Child is Important Campaign in Tasmania and Victoria from 2001-2003.

“This campaign was so successful and effective that in May 2003, the Prime Minister announced funding of $1 million under the National Agenda for Early Childhood to roll out the campaign across Australia. The campaign will be launched in December and other states and territories in 2004-05.

“While child protection is a State and Territory Government area to administer, it is important the community recognises it is not an issue owned by Governments. We all have a responsibility to care and protect our children and young people.

“The sheer size of the problem is daunting. Latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that in 2001-02 there were 30,473 substantiations of child abuse and neglect and 18,880 children were placed in out-of-home care.

“While I have not yet seen the full report, I understand the Australian Childhood Foundation’s community attitudes on child protection survey has found that some people believe there is a level of violence towards children that is acceptable.

“I find this astonishing. Violence in any form towards children is totally unacceptable. Our children are our most valuable resource and we are all responsible to ensure they are safe and have the opportunity to grow up in safe and nurturing environments.

“National Child Protection Week’s theme, Child Protection is Everyone’s Business, reminds us that the whole community has to take responsibility for the safety of our children if we are to reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect,” Mr Anthony said.

The launch of the Australian Childhood Foundation is on Tuesday 9 September at 10.30am at the BMW Edge Auditorium, Federation Square in Melbourne.