Child Protection in Australia
Child protection in Australia: an overview
Protection of children, guarantees of their safety and personal inviolability, and prevention of child sexual abuse are relations in which the federal government has the right to intervene.
Usually, the standards of such state protection are most important when there is a danger to the safety or health of the child.
Even though state and territorial governments manage and operate child protection programs, Australia’s Commonwealth legislation offers guidelines on the subject. A unique act of Parliament (often referred to as law) for each state and territory usually governs child protection initiatives.
General Child Protection Principles
A significant section of Commonwealth law is the Family Law Act of 1975. It outlines how federal family law procedures should handle child safety issues. It includes reporting requirements for family law officers and ways for courts to get information from child protection organizations. Depending on regional demands, child protection laws vary from one state and territory to another.
However, several overarching ideas ought to guide state and territorial legislation:
- the child’s best interests (The interests of the child must take priority in all decisions. Everyone must unconditionally take into account the child’s safety and well-being in resolving any disputes);
- early intervention and family assistance (Everyone should take all actions and decisions related to intervention in situations where children are at risk of injury or child sexual abuse as early as possible);
- the involvement of kids and teenagers in the decision-making process (All Australian jurisdictions have laws promoting involving kids and teens in decision-making to the extent their maturity and age permit. When appropriate, this also entails consulting with children and obtaining their opinions on matters that pertain to their lives).
State and Territory Child Protection Legislation
As mentioned above, different jurisdictions in Australia have child protection laws, which are subject to the abovementioned principles.
Australian Capital Territory
Children and Young People Act 2008, Family Violence Act 2016, Criminal Code 2002, and Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 are the primary sources of child protection provisions.
New South Wales
Here the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act of 1998 provides the basis for child protection legislation.
The purpose of this law is to:
(a) provide children and youth with such care and protection as is necessary for their safety and well-being, subject to the capabilities of their parents or others responsible for them.
(b) enable the institutions and services responsible for the defence and care of children and young people to provide them with an environment free of violence and exploitation and services that promote their health, developmental needs, spirituality, self-esteem, and dignity, and
(c) assist parents in their responsibilities to promote a safe and nurturing environment.
As for the prevention of child sexual abuse, the Child Protection (Offender Registration) Act of 2000 and the Child Protection (Offenders Prohibition Orders) Act of 2004 are in addition to the general rules mentioned above.
The Northern Territory has a Care and Protection of Children Act of 2007. This act, among other things, aims to protect children from harm and exploitation.
To help him to prevent, among other things, institutional child sexual abuse, the Criminal Code Act 1983 contains provisions for crimes involving children. For example, Section 127 penalizes sexual intercourse or gross indecency involving a child under 16. In contrast, Section 131A prohibits sexual intercourse with a child.
The Child Protection Act of 1999 is in effect here. In addition, the Criminal Code Act 1899 includes provisions for criminal offences that involve children, including sexual abuse of children and failure to protect against child sexual offences. You can find other requirements for the protection of children in the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act of 2012 and the Child Protection Act of 2004.
The Criminal Law Consolidation Act of 1935, which, among other things, prohibits and punishes unlawful sexual relations with children, is primarily concerned with protecting the safety and integrity of children. An illicit sexual relationship is when an adult engages in 2 or more illegal sexual acts with or towards a kid over any period. An adult who carries an unlawful sexual connection with a child is guilty of an offense. The maximum penalty here is imprisonment for life.
The Children and young people Act 2017 also contains general rules on child protection.
The Children and Young Persons and Their Families Act of 1977 and the Criminal Code Act of 1924 is the heart of the child protection legal system.
Among other things, when charged with penetrative sexual abuse of a young person or child or sexual intercourse with a young person under 17, the defendant can be convicted of:
- Penetrative sexual abuse of a person with mental disabilities,
- Indecent assault, or
Part 1 Division 1 (8B) of the Crimes Act of 1958 prohibits and punishes sexual offences against children.
The law distinguishes the following types of crimes:
- Sexual penetration of a child under 12, 16 or 17
- Sexual assault on a child under the age of 16
- A sexual act (acts) in the presence of a youth under 16
- Inducing or engaging in sexual activity with a child under 16
- Failure of an authorized person to protect a child from a sexual offence
- Kidnapping or holding a child under 16 for sexual purposes
- Causing or permitting a sexual performance involving a child and some others.
Chapter XXXI of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 includes sexual offences against a child. In addition, you can find general provisions on protecting children’s rights in the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
Child Protection in Australia.
It is hard to understand all the measures of state protection for a survivor of child sexual abuse, institutional child sexual abuse, or historical child sexual abuse. But if you or someone you know would like to talk to one of our historical sexual abuse specialists, for free and in confidence, about your legal options, please feel free to either complete the form below with the best way and the best time to contact you, or you can call us on 02 9283 5599.