July 20, 2023
12:30pm to 3pm

OPEN Seminar: Amplifying the voices and rights of our children 


The launch of the inaugural OPEN Seminar “Amplifying the Voices and Rights of Children,” was a great success. This seminar had two presentations, one from 54 Reasons and one from the University of Melbourne. Following these thought-provoking discussions, Deb Tsobaris, CEO of the Centre of Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, moderated a panel discussion. The panel included Liana Buchanan – the Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People, as well as representatives from Victoria Legal Aid, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), the University of Melbourne, and 54 Reasons.

Our first presentation “Making Rights Real: Children’s Rights in Policy and Practice,”

Led by Howard Choo, Australian Policy and Advocacy Lead at Save the Children and 54 Reasons. Howard discussed the importance of adopting a child rights approach in advocating for policy reform and system change to uphold children’s rights across Australia. He emphasised the significance of viewing children as rights holders and valuing their participation in decision-making processes.  

Our second presentation “From Interviews to Impact: Strengthening Support for Children Who Lost a Parent Due to Domestic Homicide“.

This presentation featured Kathryn Joy and Professor Eva Alisic from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. By shedding light on the experiences of children who have lost a parent due to domestic homicide, the presentation emphasised the significance of adopting child-centered approaches, building trust, and acknowledging the lifelong impact of traumatic experiences.

Our third presentation a panel discussion:

This was an insightful panel discussion led by Deb Tsorbaris, CEO of Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare. OPEN welcomed the Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan; Kathryn Joy and Anna Gibson, Legislative Reform Project Executive Advisor from Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA); and Elicia Savvas, Associate Director, for Child Protection at Victoria Legal Aid. Panellists delved into various important aspects of children’s rights and wellbeing, that are essential to ensure the holistic development and protection of children. It explored the ways in which listening to children and involving them in decision-making not only ensures that their perspectives are heard but also leads to better outcomes, and more effective policies and practice.

The seminar shed light on: 

  • Child’s Rights Approach: The importance of adopting a child rights approach for policy reform, ensuring children are seen as rights holders and valuing their participation in decision-making processes.  
  • Improving Childhood Wellbeing: The significance of providing long-term trusting relationships when working with children in practice settings, acknowledging the lifelong impact of trauma and the need for individualised care and empathy. 
  • Managing tensions: The difficulties in navigating tensions between mandatory reporting and listening to children, as well as addressing root causes of issues affecting children, and establishing institutional mechanisms to amplify children’s voices in decision-making processes.  

This session brought together diverse insights, research findings, and personal experiences to advocate for children’s rights. The event aimed to promote children’s rights, voices, safety and wellbeing, making it relevant to professionals and organisations working across various sectors that support children and families.  

The conversations emphasised the critical need for our sector to commit to advocating for children and collaborating to build a brighter future for all children. 

Other Events

View all events

Join the OPEN community - It's Free