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    Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Curtis Pitt

    Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse taskforce to spearhead solutions

    Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Curtis Pitt

    Saturday, March 12, 2016

    Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse taskforce to spearhead solutions

    Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt has committed the Palaszczuk Government to taking action on the Preventing Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse in West Cairns and Aurukun Report.

    Mr Pitt said efforts to date hadn’t gone far enough in addressing this challenge and announced Honourable Stanley Jones AO QC will chair a specialist steering committee to make recommendations to address the serious issue of youth sexual violence and abuse in at-risk communities.

    “The report was commissioned by the Bligh Government and delivered to the former LNP Government in 2013 and we have waited to release this report to give impacted communities time to comprehend the serious issues it raised,” Mr Pitt said.

    “As a Cabinet we made the difficult decision to release this report because shying away from these challenges is clearly not an option and we want to have this conversation out in the open.

    “We may receive some criticism for releasing the report and I accept that, but I want to front foot this so Queenslanders know what’s occurring in our communities and understand that we all have a role to play.

    “Frankly, the findings of this report are deeply shocking and while many of the issues it has uncovered are disturbing and difficult to discuss, the Palaszczuk Government has decided it is appropriate to release the report so we can have this important conversation in the open and address individual and community concerns.

    “While Aurukun and West Cairns were the focus of this report, the tragic reality is that these are not the only communities in which serious problems with sexual violence and abuse occur, this is a nationwide issue and we all need to do more than in years past to improve the future. 

    “Just as the scourge of domestic violence has been brought out of the shadows and onto the national agenda, we want to go further and stamp-out the horrific crimes associated with youth sexual violence and abuse, especially in at-risk communities.

    “I am pleased to announce Justice Jones will lead the Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee and I believe he is eminently capable of delivering recommendations to Government that will drive generational change.

    “As a former judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the first Far Northern Judge of the Court, Justice Stanley Jones is ideally positioned to lead this sensitive and complex work and his committee will immediately get to work.

    “The Steering Committee will seek advice from experts in the field of youth sexual violence and abuse and build on work that has already occurred in response to these issues in Aurukun and West Cairns.

    “These are long-standing and highly complex community issues, there’s no simple solution.

    “I’d like to acknowledge the courage and commitment of local community members who are already standing up to tackle these difficult problems and I’d like to thank the committee members who have agreed to look at strategies for us to do better.”

    The Steering Committee will provide an interim report to government in mid-2016 and a final report by the end of the year.

    Membership of the Steering Committee will include a child safety advocate, key community representatives, heads of relevant state and federal government departments, and most importantly representation from a young person.

    Mr Pitt said it was clear that a renewed effort to reduce the prevalence and impacts of youth sexual violence and abuse was needed.

    “I genuinely believe there is momentum within the community and a political will at all levels of government to deliver change,” Mr Pitt said.

    “The Queensland Government is determined to make a difference and ensure we take a holistic, coordinated and collaborative approach for better outcomes for these communities.

    “In the year since election, the Palaszczuk Government has invested significantly in improving early intervention and prevention for children and families and we will increase Intensive Family Support Services in Cairns from May 2016 to improve outcomes from existing investment in Aurukun.

    “The Steering Committee will build on these measures to ensure the response across all three levels of government is the most comprehensive response to issues faced by these communities.

    “The Steering Committee will also focus on the prevalence of youth sexual violence and abuse across the State and provide advice about the appropriateness of the response to this issue across Queensland.

    “By working collaboratively with community members we are able begin the tough conversations and support the changes that are needed.”

    Since the 2015 state election the Palaszczuk Government has:

    • $4.5 million funding to continue and expand Family and Child Connect services at six new services in locations including Cape York
    • $3.8 million for intensive family support for families with multiple and complex needs services in locations including Cape York
    • $3.3 million to support young people exiting out-of-home care through the Next Step After Care program
    • $2.4 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family support services and child protection services
    • $1.5 million for support services for families in regional and remote communities
    • Aided the installation of a $1.3 million new CCTV security camera system in Aurukun
    • $400,000 for a new trauma-informed therapeutic framework for children and young people in residential care and independent living facilities
    • $595,000 to design and implement comprehensive health assessments for all children and young people entering statutory care.
    • Appointed a new senior officer in Aurukun to assist with coordination across all three tiers of Government.
    • Led community education campaign in English and Wik Way, on sly grog, community violence, domestic violence and child protection
    • Finalising construction plans to redevelop the PCYC
    • Developing a new Community Safety Plan
    • The Safer Streets, Safer Communities Taskforce has established community service hubs in Mooroobool and Manoora, targeted police operations to reduce crime in hotspots and provided youth support services for at risk young people.
    • Police also undertake sly grog patrols and ongoing monitoring of supply routes


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