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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 802 ..


support services must be ready to respond. And responding means thinking about redress, support for survivors and holding people and institutions accountable.

I support the motion as amended and as amended again, and I join Minister Stephen-Smith in emphasising that improving the ways that we prevent and respond to abuse requires a broad, systemic change. Changes to the justice system to prevent and respond to abuse are critical, and they are a single part of a comprehensive response. I will continue to join my ministerial colleagues in developing a comprehensive response to the royal commission that makes Canberra safer for children and provides a holistic and comprehensive network of support for survivors.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (11.18): I will be brief. I thank Minister Stephen-Smith, Minister Rattenbury and Minister Gordon Ramsay for their willingness to support Mr Coe’s amendment, and I wholeheartedly accept the minister’s offer to supplement the already available information and resources and especially to include these resources in the information packs that are already being provided to all new parents.

On this last point, the literature is clear. Information should be provided universally to all parents and other primary caregivers. As an analogy, if a known infectious disease afflicted 12 per cent of girls and 4.5 per cent of boys in Australia, I cannot believe that we would accept anything less than a robust education campaign that reached all parents.

This is important because, as the current inquiry found, many of the common-sense precautions taken by parents to protect children may be based on misconceptions. This means that, in addition to the caregivers who already sense that they do not know enough, a good number more think they do but are wrong. I wish to quote from a verbal submission to the Cummins inquiry from a Bendigo mother that sums up the problem:

I had no knowledge, skills or resources to help me protect children against a paedophile. Nobody had ever given me any clue about the indicators of a paedophile. Nobody had ever told me that it would most likely be a close friend that would be my children’s abuser. Nobody taught me how to talk to my young children about their bodies and sex in a way that was appropriate for their young age or how to talk to them about appropriate adult behaviour.

We must do all we can to guarantee that no ACT parent or caregiver can make this claim ever again. I look forward to working with the government to make this happen and may I add that we have two champions and two heroes in this room. I thank them for being so courageous and strong in reaching out to make a difference here in Canberra. You have made a difference by coming forward and being strong enough to speak up about the ordeals that you have gone through. I commend this amended motion to the Assembly.

Mr Coe’s amendment to Ms Stephen-Smith’s proposed amendment agreed to.

Ms Stephen-Smith’s amendment, as amended, agreed to.

Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.


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