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Alarming child abuse trends

Staff from Phoenix House, the Department of Communities and Bundaberg Police are all set for Child Protection Week, which starts on Sunday.
Staff from Phoenix House, the Department of Communities and Bundaberg Police are all set for Child Protection Week, which starts on Sunday. Scottie Simmonds

AS many as 10 abused Bundaberg kids are being referred to support service Phoenix House every week, the organisation says.

Phoenix House social worker Katrina Holz said the number of referrals to its service may astound residents, but it did not stop there, with other organisations also helping children in similar situations.

“Because we are a special service, we don’t receive all referrals,” she said.

“There are other services like Lifeline out there to help children.”

Phoenix House, which provides support for victims of domestic and sexual violence, is encouraging the community to get behind Child Protection Week, which starts this Sunday and aims to raise awareness about the issue of child abuse.

Ms Holz said Child Protection Week helped send the message that keeping children safe was everybody’s business.

She said the not-for-profit organisation was a busy service that had as many staff as it could afford.

“We do have a waiting list, but if we have any recent rape victim we will fit them in straight away,” she said.

Bundaberg police Senior Constable Col McLean said police helped Bundaberg’s Child Safety Services with investigations relating to child abuse.

“There are many forms of abuse, which can include physical, neglect, sexual and emotional abuse,” he said.

“Emotional abuse may include being in the presence of domestic violence.”

He said the community needed to report incidents to police or Crime Stoppers immediately.

“Obviously we want to take children out of these circumstances rather than find out after,” he said.



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