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Australia calls on EU to protect children online

Australia and its Five Country partners have called on the European Parliament to protect children around the world by addressing unintended consequences of the new European Electronic Communications Guide. The new Code, which came into effect in the European Union (EU) on 21 December 2020, introduced a broader definition of ‘electronic communications services’, compelling service providers in the EU to comply with the rules of the ‘ePrivacy Directive’, inadvertently making it easier for criminals to abuse children online. Under the new Code, it is now illegal for electronic service providers, including social media companies, operating in the EU to use the necessary tools to detect child sexual abuse material on online platforms. Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said protecting...

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Warning child protection staffing at 'crisis point'

Senior youth workers fear the safety of children in residential care homes is being compromised by chronic understaffing and worker stress, with the public sector union claiming 150 shifts went uncovered by the Child Protection Department over a six-week period last year. The SA Public Service Association (PSA) lodged a dispute with the Department for Child Protection in the Employment Tribunal in October over concerns full-time senior youth workers overseeing residential care facilities had been forced to clock up to an extra 20 hours of overtime every week to cover unallocated shifts. The union claims between September 26 and November 6 last year, the Department covered 337.5 residential care shifts using overtime, while another 150 shifts went uncovered. It claims...

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Don't punish families for the 'crime' of being domestic-violence victims

It sounds almost too cruel to be real. That the state of Florida would punish families reeling from domestic violence by whisking their children away into foster care, setting onerous conditions for their return, even handing  custody off to the accused abusers. But  – as a team of USA Today reporters investigating Florida’s child welfare system discovered  – the system is too often “stacked against women who are abused,” treating them as if they were at fault for being beaten into unconsciousness or trapped by poverty in an abusive relationship. Their children are traumatized, torn away from their mothers when they most need their comfort. And in case after case, the USA Today reporters documented a system dead set against reunification  –...

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Two-year-old boy trapped in storeroom at NSW childcare centre

A Central Coast mother has been left distraught and furious after her two-year-old son was found trapped in a childcare storeroom. Samantha Bridge was picking up her son Abel from the Dinky Di Childcare Centre at Lake Haven on Friday, when employees at the centre were unable to find the toddler. "(We searched) the toilets, the offices, the baby room, mum went into the changeroom, into the laundry and she could hear Abel crying 'help nanny help,'" Ms Bridge told 9News. Two-year-old Abel was trapped in a storeroom at childcare last Friday. (9News) The toddler was found trapped behind a shelving unit in the back room, distraught and with a soiled nappy. "The nappy rash from them leaving him in a...

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Warning that SA youth drug program could breach detainees' human rights

The State Government is at risk of breaching human rights standards that ban medical experimentation on prisoners if it goes ahead with its plan to trial mandatory drug addiction treatment on detained children, South Australia’s Youth Training Centre Visitor has cautioned. In a letter addressed to SA Health’s Drug and Alcohol Services director, Youth Training Centre Visitor Penny Wright warned that the Government needed to adopt “extreme caution” implementing the proposed phase one of the Youth Treatment Orders program. The program was a Marshall Government election promise, but despite legislation passing parliament in 2019 with the support of the Opposition, the program is yet to be enforced. The laws give the Youth Court the power to order a drug-dependent young person...

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