The week encourages us to promote safety for children in our communities.
The sad reality I have come to realise is many young people who are abused believe this behaviour is normal. Adults in our community are letting our young people down.
Reports of child abuse are overwhelming and give witness to the lack of accountability for adults who abuse young people. Courts are far too lenient on people who abuse our children. Communities are looking the other way, ignoring the abuse of children because this is the easiest option. People don’t want to get involved in notifying assaults on our young people because of the fear of the consequences from the perpetrators.
Nothing is more important than protecting our vulnerable children from abuse and neglect. Child abuse goes beyond the tears and pain experienced in childhood. Victims endure a lifetime of psychological and emotional distress, they often become drug users to kill the pain of abuse, attempt suicide, self-mutilate and have major trust issues. We, as a society, must ensure we provide our children with a safe and supportive environment, so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Father Chris Riley, CEO and founder, Youth Off The Streets