Parents launch legal action as bus incidents continue
A group of four Australian parents have taken legal action against early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers in New South Wales and Queensland in response to incidents where their children have been left unattended inside vehicles being used to transport them to and from care.
Lisa Flynn, chief legal officer at Shine Lawyers, said such incidents occur “more than people would believe or understand,” telling The Guardian “the fact that we’re one law firm and there’s at least four current cases involving these instances, I think is very concerning.”
Statistical information gathered by the publication indicates that more than one child is left on a bus every month over the last five years, a statistic which only points to the 68 incidents which have been reported over the time span.
Queensland has reported 41 occasions of children left on buses over the past five years – the highest in the country, but incidents have happened in every state and territory.
Western Australia has reported nine cases since 2017, NSW six, Tasmania four, Victoria four, South Australia two, while both the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory reported one case each over the past five years.
“There needs to be tighter regulation so the very important job of ensuring the safety of children is given the prominence and importance that it desperately needs,” Ms Flynn said.
Many of her clients, she continued, have suffered psychological distress as a result of learning about what happened to their child, an experience she described as “traumatic.”
“It is an extremely important safety issue and it needs to be highlighted to ensure that there is the proper level of accountability for organisations entrusted with the care of children,” she said in closing.
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