Push for Muslim parent helpline
SENIOR Muslim leaders are lobbying the federal government for taxpayer cash to fund a phone helpline for desperate parents, worried about their children being lured by gangs or extremist recruiters.
The proposal for a $3.5 million Muslim Crisis Support Service, backed by the Australian National University and the Islamic Council of Victoria, was presented to senior federal government ministers in Canberra last week.
According to the proposal document, the MCSS would include a 24-hour helpline for desperate Muslim parents worried about children “vulnerable to delinquent or violent anti-social behaviours”.
The money would also fund a mobile crisis support team to intervene when Muslim families are in crisis and provide practical and emotional support.
“The danger of Muslim youth committing anti-social behaviours (such as criminal activity, drug and alcohol offending and domestic violence) is arguably becoming greater,” the submission said.
“Often parents, particularly those from newly arrived communities, struggle to understand why things have gone drastically wrong with their adolescent children or where to go for help when this type of crisis arises.
“Without adequate support structures, many marginalised and disengaged Muslim youth growing up in Australian society are becoming increasingly at risk of falling into negative social circles or being influenced by harmful social media or internet activity.”
Earlier this year, a voluntary helpline for Muslim families was launched but the group wants the government to fund a professional support service, which would include social workers and psychologists from the Muslim community.
The NSW government recently launched a deradicalised helpline aimed at young Muslims. But Islamic Council vice president Adel Salman said parents are crying out for the service.
“To achieve the best outcomes it should be a community-led response, not a police or justice response,” he said.