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Children Exposed to Family Violence Slipping Through Large Service Gaps

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Tags: Family Violence, Children and Young People

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Human Services spokesperson

Former Australia of the Year, Rosie Batty launched the Commissioner for Children’s report, ‘Children and Young People’s Unique Experience of Family Violence' today.

While launching the Report, Ms Batty told her own heart wrenching story and talked about how all children who are victims of violence in the home must be heard and supported.

In Tasmania, it seems as though that's not yet the case.

According to Tasmania Police data, in 2014 there were 1,256 children recorded as being present at family violence incidents.  In the two years since the Liberals took office, that's increased to 1,757 children reported to have been exposed to violence in the home.

That is an increase of 501 traumatised children in just two years.

Yet, on the Liberals' watch the number of children receiving counselling has actually fallen during the same period.  It's difficult to understand how that can that be.

The 2014-15 Department of Health and Human Services Annual Report confirms that the waiting list of traumatised children needing counselling has soared. These are children within our community who have been present at harrowing events, who are not yet being heard or helped.

The Minister for Human Services was unable to explain how so few young people were receiving counselling while reported family violence incidents involving children had skyrocketed.

It's clear reporting numbers are increasing, but that doesn't explain the yawning gap between children needing support and the support being offered.

While we acknowledge the Liberals have increased funding to tackle family violence, we urge Minister Petrusma to get a move on with this funding so that already traumatised young people are not being left to languish on waiting lists for counselling.

The government can't continue to leave these vulnerable children to fend for themselves in homes beset by violence, stress and fear.  As a community, we have to do better by these young Tasmanians.