In recent years there have been consistent and alarming increases in the reported levels of child neglect and abuse in Australia. As a result, child abuse and neglect has become an issue of national concern. Statutory child protection systems are struggling under the workload and it is widely recognised that new approaches are needed.
In 2009, the Council of Australian Governments endorsed a ten-year National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children. The National Framework acknowledges that everyone - parents, extended families, communities, governments and business - has a role to play in protecting Australia’s children. The Second Action Plan developed under the National Framework identified a number of new priorities for protecting children, one of which was to encourage greater engagement by communities and businesses. This includes supporting the community to better tackle, issues critical to the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children such as domestic and family violence and sexual abuse.
Individual or organisational values and beliefs are critical to successful engagement. In seeking to ascertain the beliefs and values of visitors to our website, Relationships Australia’s May online survey asked respondents to tell us who they thought was responsible for child safety - parents, extended family, the local community, State or Australian government, or society. The survey questions were drawn from the study of Macarthur et al. (2011) that sought to better understand the beliefs and values of statutory child protection workers who work at the heart of the child protection system.