Tasmanian Labor Senator Helen Polley has reiterated her calls for national action to implement “Baby Safe Havens” across Australia, following the rescue of an abandoned baby boy in a drain at Quakers Hill in Sydney on Sunday.
“Ultimately, baby safe havens are a child safety issue and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to save a baby before it is abandoned,” Senator Polley said.
Today Senator Polley launched an online campaign to encourage State and Territory leaders to finally show some leadership and act on the issue.
“I have launched a new Facebook page and online petition to encourage the community as well as State and Territory leaders to support a definitive policy response - the implementation of uniform safe haven laws and baby safe havens in every State and Territory in Australia,” Senator Polley said.
The international policy response to baby abandonment has been particularly successful, with baby hatches and or safe haven laws in the United States, Canada, Africa, Japan, parts of China, South Korea, Germany, Italy and other European countries.
“Unfortunately, for too long in Australia this issue has not been taken seriously. In 2014 alone we know for a fact that three babies have been abandoned, but these are the cases we know about, there are quite possibly others that go unrecorded.
“How many babies have to be abandoned before people sit up and recognise that desperate mothers need our help?” Senator Polley said.
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. Parents could legally abandon a baby without fear of criminal prosecution.
“If parents are unable or unwilling to care for their baby then they need our help. They abandon their baby because they are desperate, not because they don’t want to take responsibility for their child.
“As a compassionate society we need to recognise that this is a child safety issue, which needs a response from government today,” Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley’s Online Petition can be found by following this link:http://babysafehavens-senatorhelenpolley.nationbuilder.com/
The Baby Safe Havens Australia Facebook Page can be accessed by following this link:https://www.facebook.com/babysafehavensaustralia
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