How Well Are We Protecting Australian Children’s Rights?

Children’s rights as a concept is nebulous and requires facts, figures and numbers to make it live. The Children’s Rights Report 2019—In Their Own Right, produced by Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner ‘tells the story of how well children’s rights are protected and promoted across Australia. It tells us where we are doing ok, where we should be doing much better, and where we do not yet know enough to make an assessment of our performance.’

While acknowledging that most Australian children live in safe and healthy environments, others do not and this impacts well being and capacity to thrive. ‘This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) children.’

While we can celebrate a decrease in infant death rates and access Australian transgender and gender diverse children have to Stage 2 medical treatment without requiring court authorisation, there remain major issues of concern. Approximately 17% of children under the age of 15 live in poverty and there has been a 27% increase in reported substantiations of child abuse and neglect (2012–13 to 2016–17). Children in out-of-home care has increased by 18% over the last five years and immigration detention remains mandatory for all unlawful non-citizens, including children. These violations of the child’s rights are the wider system context of the work we do and should not be treated as disconnected and irrelevant but remain at the forefront of both thinking and action.

Children’s Rights Report 2019 In Their Own Right: Children’s Rights in Australia

NATIONAL CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONER, Australian Human Rights Commission


Children’s rights—Adult responsibility. How to strike the balance?

Upcoming Workshop: 27th March 9:30am – 4:30pm

Working with children and  their families, professionals are often confronted with questions about how to strike a fair balance between the rights of the child and support for the proper authority of adults who care for them.

This one-day workshop will present a framework for assessing and intervening in situations where adult’s authority is continually questioned, leaving children vulnerable and adults impotent. Based on the Bower Place Method and informed by principles of non-violent resistance, the approach helps practitioners clearly differentiate lines of appropriate authority and responsibility which are maximally protective. It proposes intervention that reinforces equitable division of responsibility between adults and children commensurate with the role of the adult and developmental stage of the child.

Theoretical input is complemented by working directly with clients who present with these difficulties, in the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic. Participants will be invited to work in the room as assistants or as members of the therapeutic team allowing direct application of the ideas that are presented.

This workshop is suitable for those working with children and their families in multiple settings including, schools, child care and early learning centres, mental health and human services and medical and health settings. An opportunity to explore research drawing on live clinical practice.

Cost $190 for full day training with Bower Place Director, Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist Catherine Sanders.

Call (08) 8221 6066 or email for bookings and further information.