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Australia’s child protection crisis


They are among Australia’s most vulnerable people yet are being failed by the very system designed to protect them, The Herald Sun reports.

A revealing Four Corners investigation which aired last night has revealed widespread levels of abuse and neglect occurring against children in Australia’s residential care homes.

In Broken Homes: On the frontline of Australia’s child protection crisis, reporter Linton Besser highlights how “resi kids” are not only subject to abuse but also widespread neglect.

Besser said the “resi kids,” called after the group residential homes they live in and run by private operators and charities, faced a series of problems with many coming from abusive backgrounds themselves.

But Besser told he was shocked at just how much neglect and abuse these kids faced.

“I’ve never seen a more unjust scenario than this,” he said of his three-month investigation.

“Children through no fault of their own are taken from their parents, which can be traumatic in itself, and are then placed into a residential home where they are subjected to neglect and abuse.

“It’s really confronting and unfair.”

Besser spoke to more than 50 people involved with, or who lived in the system across Australia, and said it was clear the system was failing.

While recognising many of the children were troubled, he said most never received the adequate levels of help and care they needed.

Alarmingly, Four Corners also found many abused children often went on to become abusers themselves.

“One psychiatrist described how a child he treated for years went on to become a perpetrator after coming into a group home,” Besser said.

Just last year, Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Bernie Geary, called residential care homes “barns for children” and told the royal commission into child abuse they should be phased out.


Four Corners Broken Homes: ‘Resi kids’ abused, neglected, investigation reveals (The Herald Sun)

Broken Homes: On the frontline of Australia’s child protection crisis (Four Corners)

Images: Natalie Ottini/Four Corners