September 9, 2020

Child Protection Week: Putting children first

This week, the Northern Health social work team are celebrating National Child Protection Week (NCPW).

Held annually in September across Australia, Child Protection Week raises awareness of child abuse prevention and all issues connected with child protection.

The theme for 2020 is ‘Putting Children First’ and under this theme, all Australians are invited to look at how they can prioritise children in their lives and communities.

Tanya Ellis, Senior Social Worker and Project Support Officer – Strengthening Hospital Response to Family Violence, said, “We know that child abuse and neglect is a significant social problem throughout Australia. Child abuse is rarely a one off incident and is always harmful to a child.”

“We encourage our staff and our community to think about how they can prioritise children in their lives – putting children first means prioritising their safety and wellbeing. Children need to feel safe and loved, have opportunities to play and explore, have a say in decisions that affect them and have access to essential items such as food, shelter and health care,” she said.

“In order for children to thrive we need to come together as a community and put children’s needs first not only during Child Protection Week – but every week,” she added.

Putting children first is especially important during the pandemic.

“Children are our little heroes at the moment! They are unable to see their friends and extended family and can’t do the fun things they normally would, so they need extra support, love and reassurance.”

For parents who may be struggling to explain the need to continue to stay home to children, The Wiggles have created a video for them to watch about COVID-19 and physical distancing. They reiterate that the importance of staying home doesn’t have to be a scary conversation. Your children can sing and dance along at home and become a hand washing hero!

To mark the week, our social work department are running a number of activities and education sessions throughout Northern Health, including colouring activities for patients and families in the Children’s Ward (pictured above) and a virtual premiere of the celebrated short film Tash.

Written, directed, illustrated and narrated by young filmmaker inaugural member of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council, Natasha Anderson, the film tells her story of growing up experiencing family violence and living in out of home care. You can register for the virtual premiere here.

Northern Health social workers raising awareness of National Child Protection Week