Is our approach to family violence effective? Does it manage the intake of children affected by domestic violence well? Does it provide appropriate intervention where necessary? Are long term aims for the protection of children achieved? Does the system promote respect and justice for children and others affected by domestic violence?
Cathy Humphreys’ exploration of our sectors approach to family violence centred around these questions.
After her study, she deduced that “child protection is not necessarily well set up to respond to family violence”.
With only 6.5% of reports about the risk of harm from domestic violence made in NSW in 2007-2008 substantiated/ followed up, her questioning of our approach to family violence seems valid.
But reforming the process is not simple. Cathy stressed that if the scope of the child protection system is widened to cover more cases, there is a risk that the level of service available to victims of family violence will decrease.
And, the system is already overwhelmed.
But it’s not merely the level of reporting that was questioned. Cathy placed importance on involving children in the intervention process where appropriate.
“The children are saying ‘we want to be told what’s going on, no one speaks to us and tells us what’s happening'” she said.
Above all, Cathy stressed the importance of having an effective and efficient process for managing family violence.
“There are a group of children who really need the child protection system… without it they may die” she said.
Written by bloggers from SYN Media.