Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (10:02): Recently I met with SHINE for Kids, an organisation that was set up to support children and young people who have relatives in the criminal justice system. They estimate around 77 000 young people in Australia currently have parents in prison. These children are up to six times more likely to end up in prison themselves. Despite this clear need for family support in this area, there is a massive data gap. There is no-one in Victoria keeping data on how many children have parents in custody, despite this being easy data to collect. There is also no minister accountable in Victoria for children with relatives in custody. These children are the invisible victims of crime. Currently we are relying on the non-profit sector to fill this demand for family support and early intervention.
SHINE for Kids offers programs such as one-on-one mentoring in the classroom, the Ride by Your Side program, which provides supportive transport to children, and the Prison Invisits program, which supports the connection between parents and their children. Children who have parents in custody have a lower life expectancy and are less likely to complete their education and less likely to attain long-term employment. The cost of doing nothing is enormous. By not collecting data on these children we are rendering them even more invisible. This has got to change.
Support for children with parents in custody