‘We can and must do better’: Ryan Park
Keira Labor MP Ryan Park has vowed to raise the “inadequate” sentences for criminally neglectful parents with NSW Family and Community Services minister Pru Goward.
Mr Park, a father of two, said he was “horrified” to read the Mercury’s report on an Illawarra mother whose children were found living in extreme squalor.
“As a dad, it made me very angry that innocent children were living in such a way within the Illawarra,” he said.
“I will be writing to the Minister for Family and Community Services and our shadow minister to look at the opportunity to put in place stronger penalties that fit with the appalling level of neglect that these young children suffered.
“The magistrate has made it clear that tougher penalties would have been imposed for animal cruelty of this nature and that simply means we can and must do better when it comes to having stronger penalties in place for those who mistreat children in this way.”
The Mercury sent a series of questions to Ms Goward’s office seeking her views on the adequacy of the sentencing options available for child neglect offences, however she did not answer them.
Instead, the following response was received from the department.
“The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) works to ensure families are supported and that, when the risks are significant, children are protected.
“Where children are found to be at risk of neglect or significant harm, the legislation empowers FACS to take appropriate action.
“FACS works closely with police to ensure criminal abuse and neglect are reported and dealt with accordingly by the justice system. For privacy reasons, the department is unable to comment further.”