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Whooping cough evolving into superbug: how can you protect babies in your care?

The bacteria which causes whooping cough – a highly contagious bacterial infection which kills over 250,000 children worldwide each year, leaving many others with brain damage – is “becoming smarter” at colonising and feeding off unwitting hosts – whether they have been vaccinated or not – strengthening calls for a new vaccine in coming years, according to UNSW researchers. The current vaccine, which has been widely in use for the past 20 years, targets three antigens in the whooping cough bacteria, but researchers are calling for Australia to have a new vaccine to ensure our most vulnerable are protected from the emergence of superbug strains. All babies under six months old – in particular, newborns not protected by maternal immunisation – are...

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Woman charged with possessing child abuse material in SA's south-east

A young woman from South Australia's south-east has been charged with possessing child abuse material, after a tip-off was provided to local police by US authorities. Key points: A 19-year-old woman has been charged with possessing child abuse material Authorities seized electronic devices from her home The woman has been bailed to appear in court in March The 19-year-old woman was arrested on Thursday by the South Australia Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team after investigators conducted a search of the family home. An investigation was launched in June 2019 after a tip-off from the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a person allegedly uploading a video on social media of a child being sexually abused. Investigators seized electronic...

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Australian theologians joining theological ‘laboratory’ on sexual abuse crisis to be held in Rome

The Centre for Child Protection, housed in the Gregorian University in Rome, and Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, an international network of moral theologians, will be hosting a theological “laboratory” focusing on understanding and responding to the current crisis of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The organisers, including Prof James Keenan SJ from Boston College and Prof Hans Zollner SJ from the Centre, have invited over seventy ecclesiologists and ethicists from around the world to the three-day workshop, to be held 11-14 March. The meeting has been called a “laboratory” to emphasise active engagement of all participants in advancing theological thought, reflection and leadership in response to the crisis, with a view to supporting the global Church in its...

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Families urged to step up to limit children in state care

Families in need of support to better care for their children are being asked to develop their own strategies to protect their children’s safety under a $1.6 million trial rolled out by the Child Protection Department this month. The 18-month pilot involves the Department holding conferences with at-risk families to discuss how they can better care for and protect their children before they are required to be placed in out-of-home care. Previously, only the Youth Court had the authority to convene family group conferences for children who had contact with the legal system. The new model is touted as an early-intervention strategy to keep families together and curb the increasing number of South Australian children in out-of-home care, which spiked...

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'I don't want to be one of those absent fathers': Rudi is trapped between Australia's family and immigration law systems

In a sense, Rudi Novak's experiences over the past decade are a common enough tale of people falling in and out of love, of relationships starting and ending, and of children being caught between. Although his story is messier and more complicated than most, the problem at its core is a simple one: Rudi's daughter Maja is Australian, but he is not. And he faces the prospect of having to depart Australia, possibly forever, leaving her behind. Let's start at the beginning, or at the least the Australian beginning for Rudi and his first wife, Veronica (I'm using pseudonyms because Rudi's situation is delicately balanced). About 10 years ago, Rudi, Veronica and their toddler Maja left Europe for Australia. Veronica...

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