Save the Children is urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to follow the lead of his counterparts in Norway and New Zealand and speak directly to Australian children about COVID-19 and the Government’s response.
Many children have had their lives thrown into turmoil in recent weeks. The Kids Helpline has seen a surge in calls from children struggling to come to terms with the impacts of the pandemic.
“With so many children not going to school, confined to their homes and witnessing dramatic changes to the way we live, it’s not surprising that they also have a lot of questions to ask,” said Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds.
“It would be great to see the Prime Minister speaking directly to children, listening to their concerns and answering their questions.”
Save the Children has been collecting questions for the PM from children across Australia:
- Nine-year-old Rosario asked, “when will I be able to go back to school?” and, “when can I play with my friends?”
- 16-year-old Alex asked, “What is the government doing about my dad who’s at risk working at the hospital?”
- Kupa, 19, asked: “What are the things that are going to be put in place to help my friends and some of my family members who’ve lost their jobs so they’ll still be able to do things like pay the mortgage and rent?
Karen Flanagan, Principal Adviser Child Protection at Save the Children Australia, said it was vital children were heard by adults and part of the conversation, both at home and at the national level, about COVID-19.
“Children are acutely sensitive to the significant restrictions happening to everyday life, whether it be changes to schooling, extra-curricular sport and activities being cancelled, and the inability to see their friends,” Ms Flanagan said.
“They have a right to be heard. The impact of the crisis can have a profound impact on their mental health if not properly addressed, and access to information is a big part of that.”
“Children cannot be completely shielded from the gravity of the situation. Knowing those in positions of authority have their best interests at heart and are doing all they can, will go a long way to easing their concerns. ”
“In these times, children are most in need of reassurance, care, and honesty, and as the leader of the country, the Prime Minister is well-placed to do this.”
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