The ACL compiles a daily media monitoring services of stories of interest relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. See here to read what's in the news today.



Social services to go private

Leo Shanahan – The Australian

The NSW government will copy a social policy from Britain that allows private investors to buy bonds in social-welfare programs. Treasurer Mike Baird announced the government would trial the sale of social benefit bonds as a means of delivering social services through the private sector. Under the scheme, private investors would invest in a financial instrument called a social benefit bond and the money would go to schemes addressing social disadvantage.

Children & Family
ACL call for a better deal for Australia’s children

Glynis Quinlan - Eternity

The Federal Government has been called on to set up a Families Commission to provide national leadership in strengthening families following the launch of a new research report revealing the dire plight of many Australian children – with dramatic rises in child abuse and neglect and more than a quarter of 16-24 year-olds having mental disorder

Study finds child sex abuse education is key
Rachel Carbonell - ABC

One of Australia's peak anti-child sex abuse organisations says it has new research which shows educating children about sexual assault is one of the most effective ways of preventing it. Bravehearts says an analysis of more than 500 of its clients shows a direct link between the education program it runs in schools and a spike in the number of reports it receives about the sexual assault of children.

Stable families, stable society. It’s that simple.
Kevin Andrews - The Punch

In 1998, the House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Committee issued a report entitled To Have and To Hold about marriage and family in Australia. Writing the preface to the bipartisan report, I commented: “This report is about strengthening marital relationships. It is about preventing marital distress and the consequent breakdown of relationships. It arises from our concern for children; for their future, their happiness, and their ability to form their own loving and fulfilling relationships.”

Protect kids from fractured families: ACL
7pm Project

Video interview with Jim Wallace on 7pm project

Snapshot of a nation under stress
Natasha Bita - The Australian

One in four households relies on welfare benefits while one in seven is spending more than it earns, as increasing cost-of-living pressures bear down on families. Of the nation's poorest households, one in 10 went without meals and 7.3 per cent could not afford to heat their homes in winter during 2009-10, according to a six-yearly snapshot of spending by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australians are having to spend more than half their income on the basics - housing, food and transport - as the soaring cost of living bites into spending on life's luxuries. One in eight households could not pay their bills on time.

Pensioners get rent rise but children better off
Adele Horin - SMH

Child protection won a 5 per cent funding increase in a stringent state budget but single age, disability and carer pensioners will face higher rents in public housing and some foster carers will lose payments.

Have your say in the classification review

Tracey Lien - Kotaku

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is currently seeking volunteers for a pilot focus group program as part of a review of the Australian classification system, so if you want to help shape the way games, movies, and publications are classified, now is your chance. The classification review is not exclusively for video games. Rather, it is a pilot program that aims to determine community standards. Two groups consisting of 15 volunteers will be asked to view and discuss films, video games, publications and online content, some of which the ALRC has warned may be “offensive, confronting and disturbing”. [Ed. First blog comment is interesting]

Children on Razor's edge of bad examples
The Daily Telegraph

Tens of thousands of kids under the age of 15 have been watching the brutal Underbelly Razor series. Research from Fusion Strategy shows 79,000 boys aged 0-15 and 67,000 girls aged 0-15 watched the first episode of Underbelly: Razor which featured graphic sex, prostitution, violence and drug taking. A similar number of kids watched the second episode and thousands more watched Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here earlier this year.

Human Rights
Legal aid lawyers buckle under work stress

Geesche Jacobsen - SMH

A staff health survey within Legal Aid NSW has exposed high levels of stress, concerns about the bullying of criminal lawyers and found that workers compensation claims for its criminal solicitors are running at twice the national average. Coming as the government prepares to review the provision and funding of legal services in NSW, the survey found that 13 per cent of claims within the service are due to mental health problems.

Overseas Aid
US sends emergency aid to North Korean flood victims

Radio Australia

A US aid shipment arrived in North Korea on Saturday with around 90 tonnes of emergency supplies for the flood-hit nation. The aid was paid for by the US government and delivered by the US-based Christian relief group, the Samaritan's Purse. A US State Department spokeswoman stressed that the delivery was not linked to any political or security issue but was a result of humanitarian concern for the people of North Korea.

Religious Persecution
Life after Assad looks ominous for Syria's Christian minority

Khalid Ali - Independent

Syria's more than 2 million Christians account for around 10 per cent of the total population and are just one minority in patchwork of different creeds. But in interviews this week, some of them said many in their community were uneasy about the anti-government protests convulsing their country. According to one activist called Yusef, who used to be an organiser for his local church in Damascus, many Christians have no great love for the Assad regime. Yet large numbers are worried about what will happen if he falls.

Julia Gillard enlists Tony Abbott on offshore processing of asylum-seekers

Matthew Franklin - The Australian

Julia Gillard has taken her first step towards enlisting the opposition to restore offshore processing of asylum-seekers, writing to Tony Abbott in defiance of pressure from the Labor Left and the Greens to switch to an onshore regime.

Sexualisation of Society
Nothing radical about mass-market masturbation
Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray - ABC

We live in a world that is increasingly shaped by pornography. Pornography today presents elements of every kind of barbarism imaginable - from overt fascist celebrations of racial hatred, to the killing of animals for sexual entertainment. And yet, for many people it still passes as "cool," as just a bit of fun, as sexual "lulz," something to emulate and celebrate.