A silent protest planned by an organisation called Act for Mason will take place in Canberra next Wednesday the 23rd of November. Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services, Elizabeth Kikkert, has stated that this event is a timely reminder of the need for governments to put into place effective measures that better protect children from abuse.
“The death of a child as a consequence of mistreatment or neglect is always a tragedy but that tragedy is compounded many times over when the death could have been prevented had the child not ‘slipped through the cracks,’” Mrs Kikkert said today.
Act for Mason aims to increase awareness of the problem as epitomised by the death of Mason Lee in Caboolture on the 11th of June this year.
Before paramedics found the deceased in his stepfather’s home, the 21-month-old boy had been seen by medical professionals at least four times, and the mother had been told that she ‘needed to do more’ for her son. Mason was found with broken bones, bruises and damage to his internal organs, and the cause of death was an infection due to a tear in his small intestine.
“It is essential that all government agencies and services work in full cooperation to detect any possible abuse and to prevent avoidable deaths. In the ACT, this would include Child and Youth Protection Services, police officers and medical personnel.
“We encourage the government to make sure that all such agencies are adequately funded, that staff are thoroughly trained to deal with these kinds of situations and that any weaknesses in the system are identified and addressed swiftly.
“Our responsibility to children, who are the most vulnerable members of our society, cannot be overstated,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.