All Australian governments have endorsed the first National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 and are committed to implementing the initial actions it contains. It is a long-term, national approach to help protect all Australian children.
The National Framework represents an unprecedented level of collaboration between Australian, State and Territory governments and non-government organisations to protect children. Placing children’s interests firmly at the centre of everything we do. Reducing child abuse and neglect is not an easy task and it will take time. The National Framework provides the foundation for national reform.
Australia needs to move from seeing ‘protecting children’ merely as a response to abuse and neglect to one of promoting the safety and wellbeing of children and applying a public health model to care and protection will deliver better outcomes for our children and young people and their families. Under a public health model, priority is placed on having universal supports available for all families (for example, health and education). More intensive (secondary) prevention interventions are provided to those families that need additional assistance with a focus on early intervention. Tertiary child protection services are a last resort, and the least desirable option for families and governments.
The six supporting outcomes are:
Children live in safe and supportive families and communities.
Children and families access adequate support to promote safety and intervene early.
Risk factors for child abuse and neglect are addressed.
Children who have been abused or neglected receive the support and care they need for their safety and wellbeing.
Indigenous children are supported and safe in their families and communities.
Child sexual abuse and exploitation is prevented and survivors receive adequate support.