This week saw the inaugural
Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence and Violations in Sydney. The
conference brought together delegates from the across the region, and had a
blend of research, theory, and practice. Across three days, delegates spoke on
issues of violence against women, domestic violence, family violence, the
increased risks for children in families going through separation or mediation,
and violence within Indigenous communities.
The conference heard from a
number of incredible speakers, including: Anne Edwards, AO, Chair of ANROWS;
Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes
and Consequences; and Natasha Stott Despoya, AM, Australian Ambassador for
Women and Girls, and Chai, Our Watch. All spoke of the horrific violence and
oppression women and children experience at the hands of men, and the need to
do more to end it.
Child Wise’s Head of Research
& Advocacy, Scott Jacobs, presented his paper on day two of the conference.
Titled ‘A problem of culture? Child sexual exploitation and the marginalisation
of children’, he discussed the role that the sexualisation of children through
all forms of media and advertising may play in responding to or enabling the
commercial sexual exploitation of children, especially in the out-of-home care
Currently, there is limited
public awareness of the extent of commercial sexual exploitation of children
(commonly known as ‘child prostitution’) in Australia. In March last year,
there were over 40 children in out-of-home care within the Dandenong region
alone who were being groomed and exploited for sex by gangs of men. Yet it is
occurring all around Australia – not just in the child protection system, but
among homeless youth, drug addicted children, and other children in vulnerable
situations, such as commission housing. That this issue receives so little
attention is an indication of how easily the plight of children is ignored.
More needs to be done.
The last three days allowed
the exchange of ideas, strategies and responses that will support all of us to
more effectively address gendered violence and violations. It was an honour for
Child Wise to be able to contribute to the conference.