South Burnett Times journalist Jessica McGrath. (Photo: Molly Hancock)
South Burnett Times journalist Jessica McGrath. (Photo: Molly Hancock)

OPINION: We’re all responsible for keeping children safe

POSSIBLY the worst news one could hear is that an innocent child had been hurt, neglected or abused.

It is heartbreaking to read stories about those who had been robbed of their childhood and refused a loving and ­protected upbringing — what we as a society believe to be the right of an Australian child.

Every child deserves the right to feel safe and protected … but unfortunately this is not the reality for some children.

Lately, the news has been filled with reports of the death of four-year-old Willow Dunn from Brisbane, who police allege suffered from “sustained mistreatment”.

This came as reports emerged of two autistic teenage boys being allegedly locked in a house in the Brisbane suburb of Stafford.

This week, the South Burnett Times published a story about a man who appeared in Kingaroy District Court who was found guilty for the indecent treatment of young boys under foster care.

This happened right here in the South Burnett.


Man sentenced for indecent treatment of foster children

Bail refused for woman accused of torturing child, sister

Rhonda gets justice for state’s “worst case of child abuse”

The natural response is to ask how this could possibly happen?

With these stories around child safety a hot topic in the news, many people are asking how could a child be left in such a situation?

According to the Department of Child Safety, more than 61,000 children were subject to one or more child concern report in the year ending September 30, 2019.

Social workers and those who work for the child safety department are just the tip of the iceberg of people who are looking to ensure as many children as possible are protected from any type of abuse or neglect.

Teachers in schools, doctors, nurses, police officers and any leaders in community groups working with children are also obliged to report any concerns.

But the reality is the entire community has the opportunity to ensure their suburb is safe for children.

Be aware of what is going on around you and report any concerns.

I grew up in a loving home with parents who supported me and I had many teachers, leaders and mentors who looked out for me and my peers growing up.

I know I was one of the lucky ones, but we can all do our part to keep the kids in our community safe.