2 June 2015
The most recent global estimates suggest some 120 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour, with boys and girls in this age group almost equally affected. The World Day Against Child Labour on June 12th this year will focus particularly on the importance of quality education as a key step in tackling child labour.
On this year’s World Day Against Child Labour calls for:-
- free, compulsory and quality education for all children at least to the minimum age for admission to employment and action to reach those presently in child labour,
- new efforts to ensure that national policies on child labour and education are consistent and effective; and
- policies that ensure access to quality education and investment in the teaching profession.
In Australia police deal with an estimated 657 domestic violence matters on average every day of the year. That's one every two minutes. Overall, the count is 239,846 per year around the country.
There is no standard definition of domestic and family violence across all jurisdictions in Australia, but family violence directly affects one in five women in the state of Victoria over the course of their lifetime. It is the leading contributor to preventable death, disability and illness in Victorian women aged 15 to 44 years.
Broadly speaking Family and domestic violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. This includes not only physical injury but direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear.
Family violence is predominantly, but not exclusively, perpetrated by men against women and children. Violence can occur in any kind of relationship including, same sex relationships and against people who are elderly or disabled. Family violence perpetrated against older people is often called elder abuse, although this term can also include abuse by professional carers.
Much family violence remains unreported due to a fear that reports will not be believed, and that responses and interventions will be inadequate with the consequent increased risk of further violence. Economic pressures also contribute to many remaining in abusive relationships.
In response to this situation, the Victorian government has recently announced a Royal commission into Family Violence which will research and report on the most effective ways to:-
- prevent family violence;
- improve early intervention;
- protect those at risk;
- support victims; and
- make perpetrators more accountable.
For more information visit the Parliament of Australia and Domestic Violence Victoria websites
Recent information provided by Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) revealed that as of 25 May 2015, there were 136 children in detention facilities in Australia. The DIBP also said that 88 children currently detained in Australia are due to be transferred to Nauru in the near future to join the 95 already held there. In addition, as at 30th April a further 1092 children were living in community detention.
It was also revealed during the recent Senate Estimates hearings that the average length of time that children are currently spending in detention is 345 days. Disturbingly, it was revealed that one child has been in detention for almost five years.
In the Senate Estimates hearings it was also revealed that there have been 15 allegations of sexual assault and 270 reports of other types of assault in immigration detention centres in the past three months, including two cases involving children.
Whilst the current Royal Commission into child sex abuse is investigating the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in relation to children who have been abused in Australian immigration detention centres, the scope of the Royal Commission’s inquiry will not extend to Nauru.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), after seeing first-hand the appalling healthcare standards for asylum seekers, has released its first position statement on refugee and asylum seeker health which includes a section on children and families. A spokesperson for the RACP described the Government’s policies as “inhumane” and said that health professionals were especially concerned about children.
Consultant paediatrician Professor David Isaacs said that doctors were left mentally scarred after treating children and parents in Nauru. “The people there are in such distress and we saw children as young as six self-harming – I’d never seen that before in my entire life,” he said.
For more information about children in detention visit the Chilout website
ERA for Change is again inviting students in Edmund Rice Schools in Australian to to take a voluntary lunchtime detention on June 12th to stand in solidarity with child asylum seekers being held in detention centres in Australia and abroad.
Australia is poised to set a target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of power to be generated by renewable energy by 2020 following a compromise deal worked out between the government (which argued for a lower target) and the opposition.
Although favouring a higher target, the renewable energy sector has welcomed the deal, saying it clears the way for billions of dollars of investment in energy from sources like the wind and the Sun.
Further encouraging news on the potential of renewable energy sources to replace power generation through the burning of fossil-fuels was revealed in a World Wildlife Fund report produced in collaboration with the Australian National University which argued that Australia could source 100% of its power from renewables by 2050.
The recent launch of the Tesla Powerwall, a wall-mounted lithium-ion electric battery for homes and small businesses, is also seen by many as providing a glimpse of the future and the changing electricity marketplace.
Meanwhile multi-faith groups in Australia and North America have sent a letter to the pope asking him to back a campaign to encourage millions of people, organisations and investors to pull their money out of the fossil fuel industry saying it is "immoral" to profit from fossil fuels. The letter was signed by Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and US-based GreenFaith.