CONCERN: Barnardos senior manager Kerry Moore unveils The State of Shellharbour’s Children Report at Wednesday’s launch. Picture: Sylvia Liber
Shellharbour children are more likely than their NSW peers to be victims of domestic violence and are lagging behind in four out of five measures of early development, according to a new snapshot.
The resultsare noted in the second The State of Shellharbour Childrenreport, launched on Wednesday by Barnardos’Communities for Children Shellharbour team.
The report draws on crime data and results of the five-pronged Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), which is completed by educators soon after a child starts school.
It notes more than a quarter of Shellharbour children in their first year of school are struggling with communication skills and general knowledge, and almost as many are failing to achieve social competence -showing difficultywith skills like following instructions, maintaining self-control and respecting others’ property.
Rates of physical health and wellbeing, and of emotional maturity, are also significantly lower than the state average.
In the worst-hit suburbs of Barrack Heights, Lake Illawarra and Warilla, one in three children fall short of at least one of the five AEDC categories.
Barnardos regional executive manager Kerry Moore said the results were cause for concern, “particularly in the 2528 postcode area”.
“There is an overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates how early childhood experiences set the tone for a child’s future,” she said.
The report alsohighlights a rising rateof domestic violence in Shellharbour, and a growing number of child victims.
There were 282 reported cases of domestic violence in the LGA in the year to June 2016, or 410.1 reports per 100,000 population. This rate surpassed thoseof the Shoalhaven (406), Wollongong (390.2) and NSW (388.6).
Last year 10 Shellharbour girls and 25 boys were victims of domestic violence. The was almost double the number reported in the 2013 financial year, and amounts to a rate of 200.9 per 100,000 population (the NSW rate is 184.1).
Shellharbour became a recipient of Federal Government Communities for Children funding in 2005 due to its young demographic and socio-economic factors. The funding continued because of “continuing concern about that disadvantage and risk for children in the area”, Ms Moore said.
Wednesday’s launch marked the beginning of a consultation period. The report is expected to set funding prioritiesthat will guide Barnardos’ work in the region.
“The report again reveals areas of concentrated disadvantage in the region,” Ms Moore said.
“We will continue to make strong investments in these communities to ensure the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage is broken.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.