2 November 2022

Life Without Barriers supports SNAICC.

An Aboriginal toddler is smiling and waving at the camera. Behind the child is an Aboriginal woman wearing an orange T-Shirt who is looking at the child and smiling.

Life Without Barriers supports statements from SNAICC – National Voice for our Children (SNAICC) regarding calls by the Opposition for a Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children.

In responding to comments made by the Opposition Leader, Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC, stated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being removed from families at distressing rates due to poverty, not because of sexual harm.

“The reality is our children are being removed from family at ever higher and unacceptable rates,” Ms Liddle said.

“This is not because they are not loved or somehow Aboriginal people don’t know how to raise children. We have done that successfully for 60 thousand years."

“It is because of poverty, systemic racism and the lack of appropriate supports available to vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families."

Silhouette of Indigenous children sitting on a fence.

Image: AI / Rusty Stewart

Life Without Barriers' Chief Executive, Claire Robbs, said while Life Without Barriers supports more investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, statistically, a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse is not addressing the issues.

“We need to listen to and heed calls from Aboriginal-controlled organisations and leaders about the best way to reduce the over-representation of children and families in the child protection system”. Ms Robbs said.

“Reducing this is critical to future generations. Information about why children are being removed needs to be accurate and transparent, so we don’t perpetuate misconceptions about why First Nations children are over-represented in the out-of-home care system, including that sexual abuse is rampant in communities.”

Calls for a Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children were made by the Coalition Government last week. Life Without Barriers is encouraging Government and non-government organisations to invest in understanding the causes of this over-representation and partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, people, and advocates to understand the real issues that Aboriginal children and families face.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities are experiencing record interactions with the child protection system for numerous reasons. I encourage the Opposition to take up Ms Liddle’s offer to share insights from the invaluable work of SNAICC about the true challenges these communities face.” Ms Robbs said.

Life Without Barriers encourages all governments to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and advocates on important matters including calls for Royal Commissions.

Life Without Barriers partners with SNAICC for kids in out-of-home care

Historic commitment to transfer out-of-home care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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