Skip to main content


National Children’s Commissioner calls for children to be recognised as victims in their own right

Children's Rights
Content type: Media Release
Topic(s): Children, Family and Domestic Violence

The tragic deaths of three children in Sydney’s west over the weekend is yet another reminder of the fact that children are not just ‘witnesses’ of domestic, family and sexual violence - they are victims in their own right. 

This is not news to frontline services providers. The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS) showed that not only have 62% of Australians experienced child maltreatment, but that exposure to domestic violence is the most common form.  

“Often, media reports focus on single incidents involving women, and these are all horrific crimes,” says National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds. “But beyond a brief mention of the children who ‘witnessed’ their mother being murdered, we don’t often get to hear about the lifetime of trauma that has potentially shaped their childhood.” 

The recent ANROWS report on filicides in Australia revealed that intimate partner violence and family violence are significant risk factors for these killings. The research also found that in cases of filicide where there was a context of domestic violence, children were often not reported as a victim of violence to authorities.   

“There is a Rapid Review underway with an expert panel investigating opportunities for prevention of violence against women,” says Commissioner Hollonds. “Evidence shows that if we are serious about ending violence against adult women, we need to get serious about stopping violence experienced in childhood. This is the hidden prevention opportunity that has been ignored.” 

“Just as women’s safety is a key priority for National Cabinet, we need children’s safety and wellbeing to be made a national priority. Despite decades of evidence, there is currently a lack of accountability and urgency for change.” 

ENDS | Media contact: or 0457 281 897