In Parliament

Members Statement - Impact on Children

IMPACT ON CHILDREN

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton):

Young Victorian children are hurting, and many are being left behind. The damage caused to our young children by the State Government’s restrictions is unconscionable and unforgivable.

As Julie recently wrote: ‘we really need to know what the plan is for children … This would provide families with some much-needed hope’.

The mental health damage amongst young teens in our community is real.

The Australian Childhood Foundation’s August report, A Lasting Legacy: The Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Parents, found that 38 per cent of parents felt their children were more anxious, 37 per cent felt their children were more stressed, and 30 per cent felt that their children were sleeping less. The report concluded that 80 per cent of children acutely felt the absence of playing with their friends, 65 per cent of parents felt their children missed going to school, 62 per cent of children missed playing sport and more than two-thirds of children missed their extended family and grandparents.

A co-authored report released this week by Kids Helpline and the Australian Human Rights Commission, Impacts of COVID-19 on Children and Young People who Contact Kids Helpline, found that the restrictions have had a profoundly negative impact on children and young people. Kids Helpline responded to 26,709 counselling contacts from children and young people aged between 5 and 25 between January and the end of April this year—a 12 per cent increase on the same period last year. Of the 2,567 children and young people who raised COVID-19, as many as 10 per cent also had suicide-related concerns.

The report concludes COVID-19 ‘has seriously disrupted the routines and lives of children and young people, and the challenges of social isolation have at times been overwhelming … Children and young people are being disproportionately affected by the psychological and economic fallout of the pandemic’.

The damage being done to our young children is profound, and people of good conscience must not let it continue.

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