Allan Government must act on child protection crisis

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Allan Government must act on child protection crisis

The Allan Government must stop placing any more children in residential care until it can
guarantee their safety.

It follows revelations of the alleged life-threatening negligence and criminal activities of a
government service provider of residential care.

When a child is removed from their family for their own safety and placed in greater danger
under the care of the State, there could be no greater failure of government.

The most vulnerable children in Victoria, living in residential care are being subjected to
sexual exploitation and abuse, are being preyed upon and criminalised and go missing to
escape their hellish housing conditions.

The recent Public Accounts and Estimates hearings and data released by the Commission for
Children and Young People revealed that there were over 400 incidents of sexual abuse
between July 2021 and March 2023.

Former Premier Daniel Andrews said there could be no greater betrayal of trust than the
abuse of children in state care, yet since Labor came to power more than a decade ago
record numbers of children in the state’s care have died and been abused.

Just three weeks ago, Premier Jacinta Allan said in her apology for past care leavers: “To
those children who were abused and neglected during their time in care, we humbly and
unreservedly apologise.”

Given Labor has changed child protection ministers five times in the last few years, it is no
surprise a provider paid by the government to house eight children allegedly faked training
qualifications, failed to provide adequate food, and allegedly allowed sexual abuse of the
children and living conditions so horrific a child fled more than 275 times in three years to
escape.

Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Roma Britnell, said: “The ongoing sexual and other
abuse of children under this Government’s care has got to stop immediately.
“I call on the Minister stop placing children in residential care until she can guarantee those
children will be safe.

“Failure to take immediate and drastic steps to protect these children in her care, should
warrant her dismissal.

“For the Commissioner for Children and Young People to lash the government’s out-of-home
care system less than a week after the Premier’s apology, the Premier should take note and
do more than apologise, she needs to stop the abuse of children under her watch.”

Roma Britnell MP
Member for South West Coast
Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight
Shadow Minister for Child Protection
Shadow Minister for Boating and Fishing

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