Child Protection & Families PolicyHetty Johnston
Children are our future. Raising strong, healthy, resilient children is the responsibility of all adults in Australia – whether we have children, or not. The saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ has never been truer.
What we know
I believe all Australian children, young people and families deserve to be protected through a functional legal system and broader community that reflects our Australian values. However, regardless of the tireless efforts of people working in child protection, the police service, social sector and the legal profession, reality of our children’s experience is that:
- One in five will be sexually assaulted before age 15 – one every 9 minutes.
- Most will not disclose but of those that do, most will not be substantiated by authorities.
- Almost 43.5% will be sexually assaulted a male relative (30%) or father/stepfather (13.5%).
- It is probable between 3 and 5% of Australian adults or 350,000 – 600,000, have a sexual interest in children.
- Many of these unsubstantiated allegations of child sexual assault, abuse and domestic violence will find their way into the Family Law System.
- Every 18 days, a child dies at the hands of either a male or female parent or step parent.
- One woman a week dies at the hands of a partner or former partner.
Royal Commission into the Family Law System of Australia
Our current Family Law System (inclusive of Family Courts and its staff, State Police and child protection departments) is a dysfunctional, incompetent and broken institution that too often fails to protect children.
There is more child abuse resulting from faulty decisions of this Institution than any other our nation has ever seen.
Hundreds of our children are dying, committing suicide, turning to drugs and alcohol, homelessness, suffering depression and other life-threatening mental health issues every year. In an inexplicable truth, sometimes even despite glaring evidence, children are being ordered by the Courts to spend time with, or live with, the very parent they say has harmed them, in some cases, known child sex offenders.
If elected to the Australian Senate, I will tirelessly pursue the call for a Royal Commission into the Family Law System because it is the only legal Instrument capable of overcoming the significant obstacles: jurisdictional, Separation of Powers, Constitutional, International treaties, Family law legislation including Section 121 and complex Privacy provisions.
I believe the safety and well-being of our children must be the first priority in everything we do.
The Australian Law Reform Commission Report 31 March 2019
The Government released the ALRC report the day before the election was called effectively burying any meaningful discussion. The ALRC’s extraordinary main recommendation is to close the family court and send the matters back to the States and Territories.
This is a disgrace!
The Federal Family Court was established in 1975 to overcome the issues emanating from a state-based approach to an Australia-wide crisis. To now recommend we go back to the same failed system is absolute madness.
The family law system is so broken, too broken to fix with tinkering at the edges. Rather than doing the forensic inquiry necessary and rescue the hundreds of children they have put at huge risk, they are recommending that Australian Government walk away from these kids and handball the issue back to the States.
The family law system is a mess and we need contemporary solutions to solve these issues, reverting back to a system that has already failed us 40 years ago by moving this to be a State issue is not the answer. We urgently need protect our children!
Once again the Australian Government have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on an ALRC report that did nothing but waste time. We still have no sensible or practical solution, no way to help these kids or from stopping more women, children and men enduring the same dreadful fate. This is a shame on our National Government and it is an issue I will continue to raise until it is resolved in the best interests of the children – not the politicians.
If elected to the Australian Senate, I will be demanding the only real solution to this crisis, a Royal Commission into the Family Law System of Australia. I believe our Parliament has totally betrayed the human rights of our children, that they have failed, both in their parliamentary duty of care and in their basic humanity.
Register of Sex Offenders and Paedophiles
The current government have promised $7.8m for a national register to track, name and shame convicted paedophiles in Australia.
While I applaud the government’s focus on the protection of children through this funding, we know through global research that these types of registers simply do not work. Then Prime Minister Tony Abbott ruled it out for this exact reason. Most people who are abusing children will never be known to authorities and therefore will never be on the register. Of those that are, most will never be convicted. Of those that are convicted, most will not be sent jail and therefore, will not be a register. Of those who do go to jail are either never convicted, or their abuse is not sexual, so they will never be included on the register.
What does that mean for vulnerable children? It means that they will continue to be preyed upon by violent, dysfunctional adults with impunity. Choose Hetty 1stfor the Australian Senate as I will be the voice these children need in our parliament. I will speak for them and continue to work tirelessly for their safety and future.
Domestic and family violence
At least one woman is killed through domestic and family violence in Australia on a weekly basis. This is a national emergency that continues to remain a low priority for most politicians at a national level.
Too many separated fathers and children who are being harmed will chose death over continuing to live their lives under the rules of this cruel Family Law System. It must stop.
If elected, I will advocate for the treatment of domestic and family violence as the national emergency it is – calling for the Royal Commission into the Family Law System as well as ensuring that funding for domestic violence services andperpetrator programs are properly and fully funded. I will also be calling for the introduction of Child Advocacy Centres into Australia so that the best interests of the child are core to all decision making and that a thorough risk assessment by a multi-disciplinary team is conducted on both parents and presented to the Court.