Failure of the WA Liberal Party to support the State Government’s Parental Support and Responsibility Bill 2005 would leave courts powerless to order parents of children with patterns of anti-social behaviour to address the behaviour.
Child Protection Minister Sue Ellery said recent events had raised the Government’s concerns about the Liberal Party’s Legislative Council members gutting the Bill, despite continually criticising anti-social behaviour.
“The primary aim of the Bill was about intervening early to give support to parents and to prevent crime and harm to children,” Ms Ellery said
“The inclusion of court-imposed orders to compel parents to get parental support, if their children are consistently exhibiting anti-social behaviour, is more than penalising the parents, it is protecting the children and the rest of the community.
“We need to support parents when their kids are in trouble. If we do not, there is a great risk that these children will grow up with poorer education levels and become involved in serious anti-social or criminal behaviours such as drugs, theft and assault.”
While steps to support parents struggling to raise their children should be voluntary, some parents that needed the support most did not voluntarily seek it.
“There is a need for courts to have legal powers to help parents help themselves, and their children,” the Minister said.
Ms Ellery said accessing support could prevent the need to remove children from their parents - action that caused trauma to children and their parents and, if left too late, was very expensive for taxpayers.
“As I said in March, when a young person or child skips out on school, vandalises property or threatens someone in the street, people should remind themselves that the Liberals are letting this happen,” she said.
“The Opposition claimed to be tough on anti-social behaviour but fell at the first hurdle.”
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