The child protection act is a legislation which was put in place to protect child from harm. So far in society it has worked well to protect children from many forms of violence but it has been discussed that there are many inadequacies and that it is in need of reform. This assignment will state what the protection order is and what it does, the problems arising with it and what changes can be made to improve it.
The old Legislation
The Child protection bill of 1998 is a legislation which states that a child is in need of protection if s/he is suffering harm, is at unacceptable risk of suffering harm and does not have a parent willing and able to protect them from harm. This includes situations where the child is at risk from his parents, from others inside the house where he lives, from others outside the house where he lives and from themself.
The current legislation
The current legislation is much like the old legislation except that there are some reforms that have been put into place. The Child protection Act of 1999 states that there are new rights of people reporting the suspected abuse and that there is a charter of rights for child care.
When an investigation is being conducted and the investigator believes that it is important that the child does not return home until the end of the investigation due to there being a threat of possible harm, three types of orders can be applied for. The Temporary assessment order, the Court Assessment order and Child protection order. In this assignment it is the Child protection order being discussed.
In Queensland Protection orders are made under state or territory laws that provide a quick method of obtaining legal protection from physical abuse, sexual abuse or psychological abuse. These may include threats to injure a person or damage property, physical violence and damage to property. There are also some forms of intimidation which includes persistent phone calls, verbal abuse, stalking, financial abuse and indecent behaviour.
To apply for a protection order an application must be made to the magistrate's court and can be made by the person being harassed, by a solicitor or friend or by a police officer.
The order may restrict the person who is creating the problem from speaking to the person, or seeing the person or being within a certain distance from the person.
As the name implies, the protection order is put in place to protect children although there are many problems arising with the current protection order.
Problems with the Child Protection Act
The current laws of the Child Protection Act today seem to be working fine. A survey was conducted with ten Males and ten Females answering questions to do with child abuse and child protection. The results from the survey showed that 80% of the public believed that the current laws relating to child protection were adequate. 15% were unsure and 5% said no. However 95% of those questioned agreed that although the law was fine, there were not enough Family Services members available to deal with all of the cases, and this is where the problems with the Child Protection Act lie.
A recent poll shoed that in Queensland the average rate of cases to officers available ranged from a minimum of 32 cases per officer in Pine Rivers to a maximum of 100 cases per officer in Innisfail (Courier Mail 23/03/2000). With that number of abused children seeking help from that number of officers, it's not a wonder that there is talk of inadequacies.
The Child Protection Act was put in place to protect all children from harm, but with the limited number of Family Services members available, it is obvious that not all seeking council will find it. The reason for such a shortage in members is a shortage in funding. The Queensland Government is skimpy when it comes to funding centres for abused children in need of protection. "The Queensland Government has been spending 50% lees than any other state", replied Ms Jane Anderson, Executive director of the abused child trust, after being sent a letter questioning her on her opinions on Child protection. "The staffs at such facilities are under enormous amounts of pressure." She continued.
For all children to be saved and protected, certain reforms and changes need to be made.
Reform to the Child Protection Act
For the Child Protection Act to work as well in reality as it does in theory, certain changes need to be made. Those 95% which said that there was not enough funding or enough officers to deal with the cases, 80% of them answered that more funding should be made to aid this problem. This view was shared by Ms Anderson who concluded in her letter that, "Certain changes need to be made by the government to rectify these imperfections." This idea is sort after by the public and by professionals so in reality it needs to happen.
The Government needs to increase its funding on Family services affairs and Family and Youth Services area officers in order to protect all children from harm. The situation where one officer had to deal with 100 cases should not have happened and should the government not commission adequate funding, this severe act of neglect will be allowed o continue if not worsen.
The Child Protection Act is a well written piece of legislation which details how children who are suffering abuse should be protected. The problem with the Child Protection Act is not in the way that it was written but in the way that it is executed. With non adequate funding there are not enough Family services officers to hep all of the children in need of protection. It is the public's opinion that children deserve to be protected and that more funding should be put in place to make sure they are. If the government doesn't provide funding, it is they who are causing the children harm in the way of neglect.