Tasmanian Labor Senator Helen Polley has strongly reiterated her plea for the installation of "Baby Safe Havens" in Australia following Tasmanian Coroner Olivia McTaggart's call for the mother of a newborn baby found deceased in a park near Hobart two years ago to come forward.
The coroner's plea for the mother of Baby Willow to come forward is a reminder for the need to introduce Baby Safe Havens not just in Tasmania, but in every state and territory around the country.
"Everyone must understand that this issue is not going to go away until action is taken by State Premiers to introduce this much needed service", Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley has a long standing interest in this matter. Over the last several years she has made numerous radio and television appearances calling for the introduction of safe havens across Australia and regularly receives letters, emails and phone calls from people across Australia supporting her efforts to have safe havens widely available.
"It really has been extraordinary how many people have taken the time to contact me about this issue; it is something that many Australians feel is long overdue."
Senator Polley also maintained that law makers need to change their perspective about baby abandonment and the safe haven debate. At present, baby abandonment is treated as a criminal offence, with the parent able to be prosecuted for their action. A national system of laws would allow for the creation of baby safe havens across the country in pre-established, fully- staffed community buildings, such as fire stations, police stations and hospitals.
Here, a parent could legally abandon a baby up to a certain age without fear of criminal prosecution. At the same time, they would be able to leave their newborn in a safe environment where that child would receive proper care and medical treatment if required.
"Recently, we have seen multiple cases of babies being abandoned in Australia, in particular in Queensland. This shows that there are women who require these safe havens, so there is no good reason why we should not be able to provide them with this service.
"It is not about removing the responsibility of child birth, it is about assisting women who are desperate. Women who are not psychologically, emotionally or financially equipped to take care of their babies," Senator Polley said.