Posted November 02, 2019 14:09:55 It is not uncommon for families in Australia to be immersed in a different culture and social group than their own.
But a new study shows that it is not just the family that can be at risk.
The researchers looked at the lives of more than 50,000 families living in Australia over the course of six years, and found that more than 70 per cent of them experienced some form of parental social isolation.
“Our findings show that many parents in Australia feel like their children’s safety is compromised when they travel overseas,” said Dr Katherine Molloy, a researcher from the School of Population and Society at RMIT University in Melbourne.
“When they’re away from home, they’re often isolated by family members, friends and neighbours.”
“It’s not just family members and close friends who are potentially at risk,” she said.
“The risk is the wider community, where people are not being educated, are not learning about social norms and social behaviours, and are not actively engaging in active mob behaviours.”
“Our results are really relevant to people who are travelling overseas or are on their way to travel.”
The study looked at how often the parents of children aged 0-4 were physically or sexually abused or harassed in Australia, as well as how many of the children had been threatened, bullied, or subjected to bullying.
“These are the things that are going to cause the biggest impact for families,” Dr Mollohoy said.
Dr Molloys research, which was published in the journal Children and Youth Services Review, looked at a range of topics, including:How much time do parents spend in a community together?
How often does the family go out together?
How does family living affect the development of a child?
Are parents and children more likely to be separated?
What are the consequences of being separated in a social setting?
What is the impact of family isolation?
What do parents say about family separation?
Are families safe when travelling abroad?
What measures are being taken to prevent family separation from the community?
How much money are parents required to spend to maintain their family life?
“We found that parental social exclusion is more common than people think,” Dr Pauline Rocha said.
“It is a really important issue and it’s not something that is going to be resolved by the government or by any one group.”
“If parents are being isolated, they are also more likely than non-isolated parents to be isolated by other family members,” she added.
Dr Rochas research, funded by the Victorian Government, found that parents who were not actively participating in active social mob behaviours were three times more likely in that group to have been physically or verbally abused.
“There is evidence that families who have been isolated are more likely and to be less likely to attend to family needs,” Dr Rochamas said.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families also reported significantly higher levels of social isolation than other families.
“Parents in Indigenous families reported a higher level of physical and emotional abuse and neglect, as did their children,” Dr Robyn Wilson said.
But what’s more important, Dr Mollaoy said, is that the impact on children is significant, as they experience more negative consequences.
“We know that children are more at risk for bullying, physical violence and sexual violence, and we know that it has an impact on their mental health,” she explained.
“Children are more sensitive to the impact that being in isolation has on their development, their health, their self-esteem and on their wellbeing.”
Topics:health,family-and-children,community-and_society,people,family,crime,child-abuse,australiaFirst posted November 01, 2019 15:27:20More stories from Victoria