Keep­ing our kids safe

In the wake of Na­tional Child Pro­tec­tion Week, the team at Park­erville's Ge­orge Jones Child Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre is en­cour­ag­ing the com­mu­nity help protect our young ones. Pic­ture: Marie Nirme

Comment News (Armadale) - - Front Page -­mu­ni­,au d473568

MEET the team help­ing keep our kids safe.

Na­tional Child Pro­tec­tion Week has shone a light on the work var­i­ous agen­cies and our com­mu­ni­ties do to look af­ter our young peo­ple.

Park­erville’s Ge­orge Jones Child Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre in Ar­madale helps chil­dren through­out the south­east met­ro­pol­i­tan cor­ri­dor who have ex­pe­ri­enced trauma from abuse, sup­ports fam­i­lies, and works with the com­mu­nity to pre­vent fu­ture is­sues.

Ther­a­peu­tic ser­vices di­rec­tor and clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Amanda Pa­ton said it was vi­tal chil­dren know they have the right to feel safe.

“A lot of our kids don’t feel safe, they don’t ex­pe­ri­ence safety, so it’s a for­eign thought to them that they could have the right to feel safe. But as adults, we’re the ones who need to in­stil that in them. You should feel safe in your own home, your own school and your own com­mu­nity,” Ms Pa­ton said.

“It’s ok to want to be safe and take ac­tion around that.”

Last year alone, the team worked with over 6000 chil­dren in the Ar­madale area, pro­vid­ing early in­ter­ven­tion pro­grams and school-based sup­port, to sec­ondary ser­vices work­ing with fam­i­lies at risk, and ter­tiary ser­vices tar­get­ing fam­i­lies im­pacted by abuse.

Ms Pa­ton said a holis­tic re­sponse from the cen­tre was key, work­ing not just with in­di­vid­u­als but the fam­i­lies around them and pre­vent­ing is­sues from oc­cur­ring in the first place.

“For an or­gan­i­sa­tion like Park­erville, we’ve been around for 114 years, and we’ve been tar­get­ing the Ar­madale area for over 10 years. We can’t do ev­ery­thing, and you need to be a part of the com­mu­nity and link in with other or­gan­i­sa­tions. One or­gan­i­sa­tion can’t do it all, just like one fam­ily can’t do it all by them­selves,” she said.

Ms Pa­ton said it was key that ev­ery­one watches out for the chil­dren around them.

“It’s about ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for kids, sup­port­ing those kids. Ev­ery­one needs to play their part in sup­port­ing one an­other. It’s the old adage of it takes a vil­lage to raise a child,” she said.

“Say hi to your neigh­bours. If you’re liv­ing next door to some­one and you’re a bit con­cerned about the kids, or you’re a bit con­cerned about the par­ents, or you hear some loud noises or vi­o­lence at night time, next time you see them out the front of their house, say hi. Ask how they are, build up those re­la­tion­ships and con­nec­tions.”

Child Pro­tec­tion and Preven­tion of Fam­ily and Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Min­is­ter Si­mone McGurk said fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties work­ing to­gether was one of the best ways to pre­vent child abuse and ne­glect.

“Chil­dren are our most pre­cious re­source, and it is up to all of us to make sure ev­ery child grows up in a safe and con­nected com­mu­nity with ac­cess to the sup­port they need to reach their full po­ten­tial,” Ms McGurk said.

If you’re con­cerned about the wellbeing of chil­dren near you, Ms Pa­ton sug­gests talk­ing to the lo­cal school or po­lice or vis­it­ing a web­site like nap­ to find out what steps to take.

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme­mu­ni­ d473568

Work­ing with chil­dren in need are (L-R) De­tec­tive Sergeant Paul Nayler and De­tec­tive Sergeant Mar­i­ano Calzada with Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre staff Re­becca Se­ward, Amanda Pa­ton and Brent Munro

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