Children’s Rights Report 2015
The report outlines work the National Children's Commissioner has undertaken throughout 2014-15 to promote discussion and awareness of matters relating to the human rights of children and young people in Australia. It also discusses the progress of the recommendations that were made in the Children’s Rights Reports in 2013 and 2014. It includes chapters on how children’s rights have been considered in legislation and court proceedings.
This year’s report highlights: the unique experiences of children affected by family and domestic violence; new information about the incidence of and impact of family and domestic violence on children; and three main areas for concerted action by governments in relation to data and research, early intervention and system reform.
New data shows that 1 in 12 men and women experienced physical abuse by a family member, and one in 28 experienced sexual abuse by a family member, before the age of 15. However, the report noted that the availability of information about the impact of family and domestic violence on children is variable, poorly documented and not well understood. It is argued that we need to generate evidence to fill the gaps in our knowledge, and we need to translate what evidence we do have into action.
Currently, nationally disaggregated data about children affected by family and domestic violence is not readily available, there is limited breakdown on the age or characteristics of child victims, limited data about offenders and perpetrators, and inconsistent use of terminology and recording of data.
The reports first tranche of recommendations go to the need to undertake research and collect basic data about children's unique experiences of family and domestic violence. This is necessary if we are to better identify those children affected by family violence, to understand its nature, scope and frequency and to inform the targeting of interventions.
The report also recommends early intervention, from a child's conception, especially in the early years of a child's life. This would include routine screening and better information on family and domestic violence during pregnancy.
Further, the report recommends the development of a national response framework that prioritises the needs of children – both in the immediate aftermath and on an ongoing basis, to ensure that the experiences of children are understood in their own right; and that they receive the support they need to recover. I don't have time to detail all of the findings or recommendations contained in the report, but I will say this.
Read the Report