Help bring change to how Australian media reports missing & abused First Nations children

Help bring change to how Australian media reports missing & abused First Nations children

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Petition to
Australian Government and

Why this petition matters

Started by Georgia Adams

According to the AFP on their website reporting 'International Children's Day', on average in Australia, 48 young people aged 18 and under go missing daily. To add to this, First Nations children and youths under the age of 18 make up less than 6% of the Australian population, yet they represent more than 20% of Australia's missing children. Unfortunately, this information has an increased likelihood to misrepresent First Nations children, let alone Aboriginal families across Australian media outlets, with accurate information surrounding cultural identity regularly missing.

This has been evident over the years with the lack of investigation into cases such as the Bowraville Murders, the death of baby Charlie Mullaley, and more recently, the highly publicised investigation into William Tyrell and Cleo Smith. Whilst our Nation is overcome with joy that Cleo Smith was returned safe to her family, this highlights the excessive media coverage of a white child and of police and communities coming together to help white families. These cases, whether children have been found or not, have been shown in the front pages of media articles and discussed heavily on news programs for the nation to witness over weeks and months.

Cleo Smiths' investigation has sparked recent calls to advocate for missing and abused First Nations children to be treated equally as white children and their families across media reporting, as they are too, deserving of respect and are only innocent, vulnerable and scared children. This social issue extends to First Nations children in the foster care system when they are subjected to residential homes or going through temporary foster care allocations. These children are running away due to wanting to return home to their birth parents. These reports are also not taken seriously, and never have been. In addition to police intervention resulting in First Nations children facing increased rates of criminalisation compared to non-Indigenous children, instead of being provided with proper therapeutic care and support.

These cases that are highlighted in the media are often not taken seriously nor are perceived as 'newsworthy'. There is a lack of cultural understanding by mainstream media when it comes to reporting missing, abused and murdered Aboriginal people, let alone children. These cases are deemed as 'too complicated', whereby the media are too afraid to look into social issues of violence and child protection of First Nations children.

Today's climate makes it a great opportunity to speak now and advocate for First Nations children and their families, to recognise them as active members of Australian community, and treat them with the respect and recognition they deserve. It is imperative to urge the Australian Government, journalists, media personnel and police to respectfully highlight and hold discussions surrounding missing First Nations children, including those involved in child abuse cases, and to treat them equal to missing white children. 

I urge you to please sign and share this petition with your friends, families, work colleagues and your local community, as this will continue to be an Australian-wide and global issue if no awareness is spread, action or accountability is taken.

Here are some useful links if you would like to read more into this social issue:

13 have signed. Let’s get to 25!