Family violence and breakdown is one of the leading causes of youth homelessness within Australia. In order to understand this social justice issue, it is important to have a clear understanding of the issue at hand as well as the prevalence of said issue. First one must understand what constitutes as domestic violence, more specifically child maltreatment. Child maltreatment, as defined by the Australian Institute of Family Studies is ‘any non-accidental behaviour by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents that is outside the
norms of conduct and entails a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or young person’ (AIFS, 2016). Areas of abuse can be broken down into five main categories;
– Exposure to family violence
Child abuse is a crime that takes place every day, however it isn’t until we are made aware of the statistics that one is able to see the prevalence of this issue.
The above statistics highlight the prevalence of family violence within Australia. Based on this evidence is easy for one to understand how a young person is able to get to a stage in their life where they no longer feel safe within or returning to their home. The result of this however is youth homelessness. Statistics indicate a that a staggering 56% of homeless youth left home due to domestic violence. Even more staggering is that the median age of this instance happening was 10 years old (Jo Fields 2016, p. 7). Based on this evidence it is apparent that this social justice issue is one that we cannot ignore. The question is, how do we combat such a prominent issue such as child abuse and maltreatment? This is not a question that can be answered in one blog, however with greater awareness, better parental education and support and harsher punishments, I believe we can work towards reducing the rates of child abuse and maltreatment. This in turn could therefore reduce the amount of children in society who feel the need to flee their homes out of fear for their own safety.
Child Family Community Australia. (2017). What is child abuse and neglect?. [online] Available at: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/what-child-abuse-and-neglect [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].
Fildes, Jo. Home and away: Child and youth homelessness in Australia [online]. Parity, Vol. 29, No. 3, Apr 2016: 6-8. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=080623310859828;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 1032-6170. [cited 23 April 17].