Tony came to social work later in life. It gave him a sense of purpose that had previously been missing. After volunteering at Lifeline, he began studying social work and developed a passion for therapeutic work. Studying social work changed his values profoundly. He got a job counselling gamblers and began to understand the the interplay of social forces that created the preconditions for addiction, depression, anxiety, child abuse and domestic violence.
As he developed his knowledge and skills he began to work more creatively and wholistically with a range of NGO’s, including confronting men around violence and abusive behaviour.
In the course of his practice he became very concerned about punitive practices in child protection which he felt did not uphold human dignity, or work for the best interests of children. This led him to systemic advocacy work in an effort to correct these abuses.
Our conversation explores the causes of child abuse and the effectiveness of prevention policies. We tease out some important questions. How much power or influence does the state have in preventing child abuse? When things go wrong, what is the balance between blaming individual workers versus cultures and systems? How much responsibility do we have to call out unethical practices in institutions? Given the truckloads of investigations, reports, and commissions that point to remedies to improve child protection, why do we see so little change?
For more information on the Child Protection Party- check out their website.