‘All I want is a life free from violence’: Children’s Rights Report 2015
Family and domestic violence is causing widespread damage in Australia but the impact on children and young people is not fully understood or properly documented, according to the National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell.
The key findings of an investigation into the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people are included in Commissioner Mitchell’s Children’s Rights Report 2015, tabled today in Federal Parliament.
The report highlights the ways in which children are affected by family and domestic violence, through witnessing and exposure to it and as direct victims.
“Children who live in homes characterised by violence are often the silent, forgotten, unintended, invisible victims,” Commissioner Mitchell said.
“Sibling violence, and family and domestic violence experienced by female children aged 15 to 17 years, are areas where targeted research is especially needed,” Commissioner Mitchell said.
The Commissioner said efforts to measure and understand children’s experiences of family and domestic violence are often complicated by poverty, parental substance abuse, family dysfunction and mental ill-health.
Commissioner Mitchell said experiences of discrimination and marginalisation can magnify the impact of family and domestic violence among some groups of children, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or and intersex children and young people.
“Clearly much remains to be done to make sure that children aged 0 to 17 years can live free from family and domestic violence.
“We need more in-depth research on the impact of family and domestic violence on children and the interventions that help children to cope with their experiences of family and domestic violence.
“As a nation, we must be able to identify those children affected by family and domestic violence. We need to be better at recording and collecting information to improve our understanding of its frequency and scope.”
Read the Children’s Rights Report 2015.