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Analysis and Comment (15)

Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher in the pursuit of peak performance, in Whiplash. Photo by Daniel McFadden, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

No pain, no gain? The abuse of power in Whiplash is unacceptable

Whiplash, the new film written and directed by American Damien Chazelle, is billed as a drama about an ambitious young drummer and his terrifying teacher. The older teacher is said to “discover” the 19…
Social workers can successfully work with most families that find themselves in trouble without taking their children away. Nadezhda1906/Flickr

Child protection: how to keep vulnerable kids with their families

After a long period of expansion in the number of children living in out-of-home care, most modern child protection systems around the world have been labouring to prevent such placements. Instead, they’re…
Foster parents often receive inadequate emotional and financial support. prudkov/Shutterstock

Foster parents need more support to care for vulnerable children

When children are deemed at risk of abuse or neglect and are removed from the family home, they are placed in out-of-home care, either with foster parents, relatives or in residential facilities. The latter…
People with complex trauma appear like they are always anticipating or responding to a threat. file404/Shutterstock

Complex trauma: how abuse and neglect can have life-long effects

Experiencing trauma has significant implications for mental health. We’ve known this for some time but particularly since the early 1970s after observing and studying the effects of war on American servicemen…
People who have been in care are more likely to have children at an early age and are at greater risk of having their own child taken into care. Mika Heittola/Shutterstock

We remove kids from abuse and neglect, but are they better off in the long run?

Most people reasonably assume there is evidence of good long-term outcomes for children who come into contact with child protection systems. Why else would we intervene in the lives of children and their…
Decisions are difficult and prone to error when risk and protective factors appear to be fairly equal. atikinka/Shutterstock

Risky business: how protection workers decide to remove children from their parents

Imagine you’re a child protection worker who has received a notification from a teacher voicing concerns about a child in her class. The case involves a five-year-old boy named Toby. Toby’s mum has had…
‘Freedom of religion’ does not provide a church with any more or less accountability for its actions than a trucking company. AAP/Shepparton News/Verity Lewis

Principles of accountability apply to churches and truckers alike

Some religious groups are feeling under attack. They claim their “freedom of religion” is being impaired. For example, federal Attorney-General George Brandis, speaking to the Law School of Notre Dame…
Some parents still use physical punishment to control or change their child’s annoying or unacceptable behaviours. Melle V/Shutterstock

Yes, physically disciplining kids is an act of violence

Children endure many forms of violence, from slapping and pushing, to fatal assaults; almost one in five of the world’s homicide victims in 2012 were under 20. The recently released UNICEF report on violence…
Rolf Harris - he entertained for generations, but now what to think of him? AAP/Newzulu/Guy Corbishley

Dealing with the happy memories of a disgraced Rolf Harris

When entertainer Rolf Harris was convicted of 12 cases of indecent assault there was first shock from his many fans in Australia and overseas, then a sense of disbelief that a man who won the hearts of…
Daniel Pelka suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his parents. West Midlands Police/PA Wire

Daniel Pelka death shows how hard child protection can be

The horrific neglect and subsequent death of Daniel Pelka at the hands of his mother and step-father raises a number of questions about safeguarding procedures and practice. We are told teachers were concerned…
Hitting and other forms of harsh physical punishment is associated with mental health problems later in life. Spamily

Parents, it’s never okay to hit your kids

Research published this month in the journal Pediatrics confirms what child advocates have long known: it’s never okay to hit children. Study author Tracie Afifi and her colleagues investigated the link…
There is a culture of abuse in the ranks of the ADF – only a Royal Commission will uncover it fully. AAP/Alex Coppel

Paying the Piper: the ADF must finally face its culture of abuse

How does one establish a plan to lure one of your female colleagues into a dormitory room for consensual sex, but unwittingly into the scope of a webcam for broadcast? How does it come to fruition? What…
Some ADFA cadets have been through horrific abuse. It’s time for their trauma to be on the record. AAP/Alan Porritt

Reconciliation or Royal Commission? ADF abuse and the public record

One could be mistaken for thinking that the recent flurry of activity around Defence abuse is a recent phenomenon. The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Skype Affair of 2011 drew nation-wide attention…
Offenders such as Gerard Ridsdale, jailed on paedophile charges in 1994, must be exposed. AAP/Ballart Courier

Compromised inquiry into church sex crimes disrespects victims

Victorian victims of clergy sex crimes and their families have been fighting for justice for years – some for decades. The previous Labor state government did nothing for them. The Baillieu government…

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