Thursday 15 March 2018

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National Children's Commissioner Megan Mitchell
National Children's Commissioner Megan Mitchell

Newly reappointed National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell has welcomed the opportunity to continue strengthening protections for the rights of children in Australia.

Attorney-General Christian Porter today announced Commissioner Mitchell’s reappointment for a further two years, effective from the expiry of her current term on 25 March 2018.

"Her engagement with the laws, policies and programs that impact on children has been instrumental in improving the lives of children and young people in Australia," Attorney-General Porter said.

"Ms Mitchell’s re-appointment will provide important continuity in the work she is undertaking to promote the rights of children and young people, which includes leading the Commission’s engagement with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory."

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission said: “This is a marvellous opportunity for Megan to consolidate five years of significant contributions as Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner and set a forward agenda for children’s rights in Australia.”

Commissioner Mitchell said she will use her extended term helping build environments where children are protected from harm by leading the creation and implementation of national principles for all organisations providing services to or working with children and young people. 

She will also review the state of children’s rights in Australia and report to the United Nations on how Australia is meeting its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Building child safe cultures within organisations, and ensuring children’s voices are heard, were among the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“Over the past five years we’ve seen meaningful improvements to the protection of children’s rights but we’ve often seen these only come after a tipping point crisis, when so much harm has already been done,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

“We need to be promoting and strengthening the rights of children as a fundamental preventive measure.  Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive in this country, regardless of the circumstances they were born into.”

In recent years Commissioner Mitchell has investigated and reported on cyberbullying among young Australians, youth suicide and self-harm, the impact of family violence on children, the treatment of children in the justice system and, most recently, the challenges facing teenage parents and their children.

“While we now know a lot more about these emerging and ongoing issues, there is still an enormous amount of work to be done investigating the drivers of disadvantage and harm, and improving the lives of  young Australians,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

Commissioner Mitchell became Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner in March 2013.  Prior to joining the Australian Human Rights Commission, she was the NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People.

More information about the Child Safe Organisations Project is available here.