The fact that it took the over-turning of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction to bounce COVID-19 from the lead story in many news bulletins on Tuesday night says something about the seriousness with which Australians have viewed his case and the strongly held and divided opinions it has elicited.
Without delving into the complex technicalities of the legal processes that have occurred during the initial trial by jury followed by the Appeal Court’s judgement and finally the High Court’s ruling, it’s sufficient to say that the High Court found that there was a “significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”. In other words, the High Court did not, nor was it the job of the High Court to, re-adjudicate the guilt or innocence of Pell. It simply found that there was insufficient evidence for the court to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the offences occurred – nothing more than that and nothing less.
As might be expected, there are some who are applauding the High Court’s ruling as a victory for Australia’s justice system, many of whom have changed their tune considerably since noisily leading the criticism of this system when Pell was first convicted and failed in his appeal to have his conviction overturned. On the flip side, there are many who have been devastated by the ruling – not only in respect of what it means in relation to Pell, but more broadly in relation to its potential impact on other child sexual abuse prosecutions and the ways in which the High Court’s ruling may be perceived and understood by those who have experienced child sexual abuse, their loved ones, advocates and supporters.
Whatever opinion you may hold about the High Court's ruling, be kind and look out for those who may be distressed by this outcome.
Read more to find out the responses of Prime Minister Scott Morrison; Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews; Julia Gillard, Chair of Beyond Blue, who in her former role as Prime Minister initiated the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; and Witness J, perhaps the most compelling of all. Consider PeakCare’s opinion and share your own.
Changes in response to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - what does it mean for organisations delivering services to children and young people?
New legal information guide for young people on COVID-19
The attention of all organisations involved in delivering services to children and young people is drawn to this information sheet released by the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women about key changes introduced in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) aimed at improving access to justice for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. This includes key changes to civil litigation processes in relation to institutional liability for child abuse. Organisations delivering services to children and young people need to be able to demonstrate all of the steps they have taken to keep children safe from abuse. Where an allegation of abuse has been made, the Civil Liability and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 sets out some of the things that would be taken into consideration by a court in looking at whether an institution took ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent the abuse in question. One way that organisations can proactively improve their child safe culture and practices beyond compliance with existing obligations is to implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. Find out more.
New affirmative practice guide for working with LGBTIQAP+ young people experiencing homelessness
Youth Advocacy Centre (YAC) has developed a legal information guide for young people about concerns around COVID-19. The guide includes answers to commonly asked questions that young people could be concerned about, including leaving their homes and visiting friends and family. The guide also includes information about essential activities such as going to court, going to work or education where the activities cannot be done at home, and links to further resources.
YAC in collaboration with Open Doors Youth Service has developed an affirmative practice guide for working with LGBTIQAP+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy young people experiencing homelessness in Brisbane. LGBTIQAP+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy young people are significantly over-represented in experiences of homelessness. The good news is that there are a number of things that services and workers can do to make their practice more affirmative and inclusive. The practice guide also includes supporting materials such as an easy reference sheet, referrals and further resources. The guide and supporting materials are available online with a training workshop to be held in future. Enquiries can be directed to Kate Green on 0410 856 702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human rights in the child protection context via videoconference - places limited so register now
This videoconference facilitated by Caron Menashe, Queensland Human Rights Commission, will offer a variety of interactive opportunities to explore the scope of the 23 human rights protected by the new Queensland Human Rights Act 2019, and to work through some specific child protection scenarios to learn how to assess the compatibility of public entities’ acts or decisions with human rights. The videoconference will be held Wednesday, 6th May, 10am to 12noon via Zoom. Forward any queries or real life situations you have encountered in work environments which impact on human rights to include in the discussion to Stephanie Fielder on 0415 161 865 or email@example.com. See this guide to developing scenarios provided by the Commission, which has some relevant examples. Register to attend the videoconference by emailing Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Places are limited. For those who want to gain some pre-course knowledge, please click on this link to the Queensland Human Rights Commission’s Online Training Store and select the Introduction to the Human Rights Act 2019 course.
Online training and professional development delivery as the sector moves toward remote workforce
Many training and professional development providers are moving to online delivery in these changing times, including PeakCare Members and Supporters. Supporter Encompass Family and Community now offer via Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Facetime, supervision/debriefing sessions, reflective practice sessions, team connection and development sessions, live ‘bite-sized’ training sessions of 1-2 hours for workshops in the existing Encompass training calendar, live ‘bite-sized’ bespoke training sessions, and more. Find out more or contact Encompass at email@example.com.
PeakCare Supporter Amovita International also deliver training and professional development via Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Facetime and webinars. Amovita is currently conducting a survey on sector training needs and is inviting feedback. Contact Amovita on 0498 133 070 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PeakCare Supporter AASW is delivering three online training webinars for new disability workers to better understand issues around sexual violence and trauma. Contact the QLD Branch on 07 2101 4629 or by email to email@example.com.
PeakCare Supporter Parentshop has also moved to deliver their workshops virtually.
Other training organisations are also moving toward online training, with many free resources for workforce preparedness in this new environment. National Disability Services is hosting a free webinar for disability service providers on better supporting clients who may be struggling to cope with the forced disruptions to normal routine and increasing level of restrictions and requirements around healthy and safety during COVID-19. A free webinar by Brisbane Family Law Pathways Network will address challenging workplace dynamics during difficult times, delivered by conflict expert Megan Hunter. Free transition to remote working courses and webinars for business preparedness are now available from Connecting Up and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, and Justice Connect has free webinars addressing the impact of COVID-19 on contract law, holding AGMs remotely, and payroll and HR. Women's Health Queensland has free programs and services for any woman in Queensland seeking health and wellbeing, family or relationship support. Women can call 1800 017 676 directly or can be referred by service providers.
YANQ survey on impacts of COVID-19 on the Queensland youth services sector
Youth Affairs Network Queensland's survey for the youth sector on COVID-19 impacts closes in 2 days on 11th April. If you are a youth sector worker and are facing concerns about continuity of service to marginalised young people, support for youth workers and contract/funding issues, complete the survey online and support YANQ to conduct informed advocacy on issues impacting the youth sector and the extra support needed at this time to best support marginalised young people.
Ethics for children
With many children now staying home from school, Primary Ethics, a not-for-profit educational organisation, has released a resource for parents and carers to discuss ethical questions at home with children. The latest edition of PrimaryEthics@Home provides food for thought for families on such topics as curiosity and collaborative inquiry, critical thinking, pride, rational decision making, a fair society, rights for feathered, furred and finned friends, and more, for children from kindergarten to Year 6. The resource provides guidance for parents and carers on how to approach these issues age-appropriately with children and offers insights on how children can seek out their own answers using logic and reasoning.
Guide on coaching inclusively
Informed by findings from the 3-year Australian Research Council project, Managing Diversity in Junior Sport: Participation versus Performance, a guide has been developed for coaches with tips for managing (dis)ability, gender and cultural diversity in junior sport. The Participation vs. Performance Tip Sheet notes that coaches have an important role to play in making sure children and their families feel supported and included in clubs and sport at large. Read more about key findings from the study or access further information.
Stop Cyberbullying grants now open
Young Queenslanders aged 10-25 years old are called on to share their project ideas to help stop cyberbullying in their communities. The Queensland government's Stop Cyberbullying initiative has two grant options available for individuals (up to $2,000) and not-for-profit organisations and local government entities (up to $5,000) to deliver projects to help drive awareness and address cyberbullying in their communities. Areas of priority include projects that: display collaborative approaches across diverse cohorts of young people e.g. high school students working with primary school students; or demonstrate how the project will support long-term behavioural change; demonstrate innovation in the project’s design and delivery e.g. in the use of technology; support the development of positive and respectful relationships; prioritise key groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and those from rural and remote communities. Applications close midnight Sunday, 10th May. Find out more and apply.
QCPW grants now open
Queensland Child Protection Week (QCPW) applications are now being accepted for Activity Grants, Regional Grants and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Engagement Grants. Applications will be processed as scheduled in the hopes that QCPW can continue as usual in September. Applications close COB Friday, 15th May. Activity Grants of up to $1,000 are available to non-government organisations, community organisations and networks for events that have been designed to positively support the theme and aims of QCPW. Regional Grants of up to $5,000 are available for each of five regions of Queensland. Applications must reflect collaboration with a minimum of five other agencies within the region. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Grants of up to $5,000 are available to not-for-profit groups in Queensland to enhance and promote child protection messages within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The lead organisation applying for the grant should be an Indigenous organisation. Find out more and apply or contact Caitlin King for more details or assistance in completing the application.
Victim Services Building Capacity Funding Program not proceeding
The 16th March edition of eNews included information on the availability of community funding for addressing service gaps for victims of violent crime in Queensland. Due to the current prevailing conditions, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General has decided to not proceed with the tender process at this time. eNews readers will be notified when further information is received about the tender process for this funding.
NDIS new live webchat available
The NDIS website now has a full live webchat function for participants to receive answers to questions about their personal circumstances. The webchat requires identity verification, but provides the full level of assistance usually only available over the phone. Webchat is accessible for the blind and can be utilised during the same hours of phone availability, 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.
The latest advice on managing concerns around COVID-19
Keep yourself updated with the latest information on the pandemic by accessing PeakCare's COVID-19 Resource page. The page contains a host of useful resources including advice all foster and kinship carers should be made aware of, essential information for residential care providers and workers, how carers and parents can approach speaking with children about the virus, where organisations can reference instruction on workforce issues, as well as practical advice on health and hygiene. To ensure you receive the latest updates without delay, subscribe to eNews by replying SUBSCRIBE ME to this email.
Also regularly visit the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women website to check new and updated information as it is posted including responses to Frequently Asked Questions by Carers and by non-government service providers.
Mastering Vicarious Stress
Webinar - Thursday, 16th April to Thursday, 21st May
Presented by Amovita International
This online training explores how to combat the impact of vicarious stress in the current environment where most people are working from home. The course examines impact of fear based energy on the brain and body. It assists to reduce the impacts of stress on the brain and understand how to remain focus and have a clear plan to move through this challenging time. This online course will be held over six weeks for an hour each Thursday afternoon. Register online or contact 0498 133 070 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
No Scaredy Cats
Tweed Heads - Wednesday, 22nd April
Presented by Parentshop
The No Scaredy Cats™ workshop is based on three underlying perspectives: first, by having an understanding of how anxiety develops parents can counter its progress, second, parents can take a preventative role in the development of anxiety problems, third, there are practical steps parents can take to build resilience. Find out more and register.
Introduction to the Nurtured Heart Approach
Brisbane - Monday, 20th July
Presented by Lighthouse Resources
The Nurtured Heart Approach is a simple framework which nurtures and grows a child’s positive sense of self. All children who have been introduced to this approach flourish and learn to appreciate what is great about them. This workshop will encourage participants to change the way we look at challenging behaviours and increase awareness and understanding of relationships. Through an introduction to the Nurtured Heart Approach, the workshop will provide powerful tools to improve not only how children and young people views themselves, but also the world around them, so they can embrace themselves and embrace life. Find out more and register.
Platform 1225 2020: Truth, advocacy and systemic reform
Brisbane - Tuesday, 17th November
Presented by Queensland Youth Housing Coalition
Comedian and author Corey White has been announced to headline and MC QYHC's annual forum Platform 1225. Corey joins advocates, academics, young people and practitioners who are committed to social justice, including Dr Lindy Annakin, lead writer of the out-of-home care chapter of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and researcher on whistleblowing in the public interest; Dr Alistair Ping, Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology’s Graduate School of Business; and Dr Kristy Muir, CEO of the Centre for Social Impact and a Professor of Social Policy at UNSW Sydney Business School. A panel of young people will speak to their lived experience on issues affecting their communities, including Lane Brooks, a 23 year-old Mandandanji man who is passionate about enacting change. Presentations will consider what can be done today to make sure the previous patterns of history are not repeated, and how to ensure ethical practice remains a key focus for organisations and government. Find out more and register.
Key Skills in Family Therapy
Brisbane - Thursday, 26th to Friday, 27th November
Presented by Compass Seminars
This two-day workshop is aimed at practitioners who work with children, young people, adults, couples, families, and/or organisations supporting clients with mental health issues. This workshop aims to introduce participants to core Family Therapy concepts and broaden practitioners understanding of how to view “the client’s problem”, as well as provide practical skills and interventions for use with the client groups with which they work, built on theoretical constructs from systemic, structural, solution focused and narrative family therapy models to teach core thinking and interviewing skills in family therapy. Find out more and register.
Women and Family Advocate, Scenic Rim - yourtown
yourtown is seeking a casual rostered fixed term (for three months) Women and Family Advocate working out of the Scenic Rim Region of Queensland. The role provides individual, family and group support planning to women, young people and children who are accommodated at the yourtown refuge. The role is classified at Bipers Class 51, Grade 7 and it is a genuine occupational requirement under s25 of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act that the role is performed by a female. The role works a rotating shift work roster, 8am-4pm one week and 10am-6pm the next Monday to Friday and approximately 1 Saturday in every three. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis so apply now to ensure you don't miss out. Find out more and apply.
Domestic and Family Violence Counsellor, Scenic Rim - yourtown
yourtown is seeking a permanent part time (4 days/week) Domestic and Family Violence Counsellor working out of the Scenic Rim region of Queensland. The role works from a strengths based, trauma informed case management model to provide counselling interventions and referrals to women who are accommodated at our refuge. This role also provides outreach support which involves following up residents who have exited and external services to ensure the women are receiving the support they need and providing court support when required. The role is classified at Bipers Class 52, Grade 8 and it is a genuine occupational requirement under s25 of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act that the role is performed by a female. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis so apply now to ensure you don't miss out. Find out more and apply.
Senior Employment Consultant - yourtown
yourtown is seeking a full time Senior Employment Consultant for the Transition to Work service based at Kingston. The role provides tailored employment services to young people aged 15-24 years old engaged with the Transition to Work service with the end goal of securing sustainable employment or higher education. The role is classified at Bipers Class 51, Grade 7. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis so apply now to ensure you don't miss out. Find out more and apply.
Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs Case Manager - YFS
Youth and Family Service (YFS) Logan is seeking a full time, fixed term (until June 2020 with a view to permanency) Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs Case Manager for the Slacks Creek location classified at SCHADS Award Level 4. The role will work with young people aged 12-25, providing intensive case management support to address goals around reducing substance use and additional vulnerabilities such as mental health, housing and legal issues. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis so apply now to ensure you don't miss out. Find out more and apply.