Valuing our Children
shared responsibility of the entire community and ensure children are at the forefront of our considerations.
The vision of the Valuing Children Initiative is the creation of a society in which all children can flourish, have a safe, caring
and supportive childhood and maximise their potential.
Passionate children’s advocate, Professor Fiona Stanley endorses The Valuing Children Initiative (VCI). Speaking via video, at the official launch of the VCI, Professor Stanley said “We need to change the culture in terms of how we value children…there has never been a more important time for this initiative than today”
With two Royal Commissions due to report in 2017, we are at a critical juncture for children in Australia.
While indispensable to the acceptance and admission of past failure to protect children, Royal Commissions bring with them the risk of unintentionally implying that these concerns are now largely taken care of. Or that better policy and legislation and more inquiries, essential as they are, will be enough to bring about the change needed to protect children.
This mental shortcut would be a grave mistake. Getting it right for every child now, and in the future, will always depend on the attitudes of the adult world.
There is no set and forget when it comes to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children, not your own child, nor any other child.
This submission focuses on highlighting the role that deeply embedded societal attitudes about children have played in creating a cultural context, both in institutions and in the wider community, which enabled the widespread sexual abuse of children to be concealed, and allowed perpetrators and institutions to deny any wrongdoing, and evade efforts to hold them accountable for decades.
If we are to address the poverty and associated experiences that are lived by over 700,000 Australian children, with 200,000 of them living in abject poverty, then we will need to place their wellbeing at the top of our list of priorities. We can no longer view such statistics as a given and a state of affairs to be accepted. Children are too valuable for us to allow their hardship to become simply background noise. Noise which, however uncomfortable, is largely tolerated. We need to care and value them enough to respond to their distress seriously, and take the action needed to change their lives for the better.
With the wealth of evidence about what makes for a safe and supportive childhood, and the unprecedented focus on children today, what accounts for the gap between what we know, what we do and the lives some children have to endure?
The VCI believes that it is our attitudes to children that require a seismic change if all children are to have the safe, supportive and caring childhoods they deserve and have a right to expect. That is why challenging and understanding the impact of conscious and unconscious attitudes to children is critical to effective advocacy and influencing policy development, and so requires far greater attention.