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Media Releases

Action on menstruation matters much more than we think says Commissioner

Commissioner  Connolly has today released Menstruation Matters – an in-depth exploration of the impact menstruation has on South Australian school aged children and young people who have periods. As one of the first reports to explore the issue in depth it makes the argument that because of the wide-ranging impact menstruation has on children and young people, the onus is on all sectors of society – government, education, business, health, and community – to recognise menstrual wellbeing and dignity as a systemic issue that is fundamental to children’s rights, central to economic productivity, and crucial to achieving gender equity across the State. Children and young people have told the Commissioner they want the social, economic, cultural and environmental barriers relating to menstruation to stop impacting negatively on their lives while in school and across society more broadly. They have made it clear that improved health outcomes require better menstruation education, universal access to period products and adequate provision of facilities that enable them to manage their periods more easily. By addressing these needs the stigma and taboo that surrounds menstruation will decline.

Download a copy of the Menstruation Matters report here
Download the full Media Release here


‘Cover Books in Nutella’ and other creative ways to encourage children to read

Commissioner Helen Connolly has today launched her latest report with a title that comes direct from a child’s imagination. Cover Books in Nutella was one of many fun ideas children contributed by children on ways to encourage them to read more books. The launch of the report coincides with the start of this year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week, marking twelve months since the Commissioner presented her Children’s Stories event in partnership with the Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation and Children’s University Adelaide (CUA). Under the guidance of Ursula Dubosarsky, Australia’s Children’s Laureate for 2020-2021, and SA children’s author and illustrator, Andrew Joyner, approximately 100 children aged 8 – 10 years assembled in the Mortlock Chamber of the State Library to participate in the Commissioner’s Children’s Stories event. The aim of the event was to build their confidence in expressing their own ideas by learning how to tap into their imagination and creativity. By participating in activities that enabled them to experience the benefits of reading, writing and storytelling the children were able to gain an understanding of the many benefits that literacy brings to their lives.

Download the full media release here
Read about the Commissioner’s Children’s Stories event here
View the summary video that includes comments from children participants here

Commissioner’s Systems Thinking Challenge a World First

Commissioner Helen Connolly has today launched Zoom Out – a systems thinking challenge believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Designed to equip young South Australians with the skills they’ll need to be successful 21st Century Citizens, Zoom Out is offered throughout schools in South Australia and is aligned with the Australian Digital Technology Curriculum. Working closely with the not-for-profit Grok Academy (the joined up Australian Computing Academy and Grok Learning), Zoom Out takes children and young people through a series of interactive activities that explain in simple terms what systems thinking is all about; an introduction to adopting a big picture mindset to help solve some of the world’s most vexing problems.

Read the full media release here
Take the Challenge now! Go to ‘Zoom Out’ here

Let’s stand with SA young people says Commissioner

South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People has chosen International Human Solidarity Day (20 December, 2020) to launch a new set of resources that highlight the views of young people. Commissioner Connolly is calling on SA adults to stand in solidarity with young people in their efforts to create a better world.

Standing in solidarity with one another was identified in the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century, that ‘those who suffer most or benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most’.

Read the full media release here

Commissioner reports steady progress on SA child rights but no time for complacency

Commissioner Helen Connolly has today released a series of Progress Reports on South Australia’s progress on child rights. Launched to coincide with International Human Rights Day (10 December), the Progress Reports cover six separate child rights issues highlighted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as areas of concern. They include child health, education, physical punishment, disability, child justice and child protection. The progress reports prepared by the Commissioner indicate there is still considerable work to be done in South Australia in the areas of child justice, child protection and health. Overall some evidence of progress can be seen across all six areas highlighted.  Every five years, the Australian Government must meet its international obligation to report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) explaining how Australia is faring in relation to child’s rights. 

Download the full media release here
Download the suite of progress reports here

Commissioner to speak at international conference on menstrual dignity amongst a push for FREE sanitary products in schools

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, has been calling upon women leaders in South Australia’s Parliament to get in step with their female counterparts at the state, national and international level, and work together to make free sanitary products available in schools, colleges and universities throughout the State a reality.

This Thursday 10 December (tomorrow), she will state her case at the virtual ‘International Workshop on Dignified Menstruation’ streaming via the Internet and being hosted by Nepal, from Kathmandu. Organised by the Global South Coalition, Commissioner Connolly is one of 26 guest speakers invited to present at the workshop style conference. As a guest panellist she will join two members of the Nepalese Parliament to discuss ‘whether menstrual dignity is of any political interest’, including what policy levers she recommends be used to destigmatise menstruation and encourage South Australia to join the growing global Dignified Menstruation (DM) movement.

For more information about the Commissioner’s End Period Poverty, Period. campaign and petition go to:
For more information about the work of the South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People go to:

More than 8,400 SA ‘Tweens’ share what matters to them most

The Blame Game is the latest report released by Commissioner Helen Connolly examining the findings from her School Exclusions project in which 400 South Australian children and young people and their families, shared their views on the impact of education exclusion. The report examines the perspectives of these children and their families and found that they differ significantly from those of teachers and schools with students often perceiving exclusion, including suspensions, expulsions and being excluded from a classroom, as a form of punishment for situations that are often exacerbated by factors that are beyond their own control. 

Read the full media release here.
Download the report


Commissioner Opens Space to Dream ‘Design Thinking’ Challenge Exhibition at MOD

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, today announced the opening of an exhibition at MOD. showcasing the top-rated entries for her inaugural Space to Dream ‘Design Thinking’ Challenge in which she challenged South Australian children and young people to use design thinking to create a toy or gadget for someone their age who is ‘moving to Mars’.

The challenge was devised to inspire the next generation of space entrepreneurs and innovators – it also speaks to teachers, parents and the broader SA community about the possibilities the space industry offers SA children and young people in careers of the future.

Space to Dream helps young South Australians draw a direct link between the Australian Space Agency, now based at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, and their potential to be part of the industry it steers. Potential that offers them career opportunities encompassing innovation, design, and technology, to name just a few of the areas in which ‘dream jobs’ are likely to be created within the space industry of the future. 

A total of 36 Space to Dream 3D models and drawn designs will be on display at MOD from now until Saturday 28 November

Read the full media release here 

Commissioner calls for SA leaders to advocate for FREE sanitary products

What do Queensland, Scotland and New Zealand have in common?

Women leaders who have advocated for the introduction of free sanitary products for their citizens. Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly is calling upon women leaders in South Australia’s Parliament to get in step with their female counterparts at the state, national and international levels, and work together to introduce free sanitary products into schools, colleges and universities throughout the State before the end of this COVID-19 year.

Commissioner Connolly points to New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern; Member of the Scottish Parliament, Monica Lennon; and Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, who have all recognised that to address the issue of gender inequality, girls and young women must have access to essential sanitary items, regardless of whether they can afford to buy them or not.

Read the full media release here

It’s time to look through the eyes of the child to see what they say makes an organisation child safe

On the 30th anniversary of National Child Protection Week (6 – 12 September, 2020) Commissioner Helen Connolly has released ‘Trust is a Must’ – what does it take to be child friendly and child safe?’
The Commissioner’s latest report examines findings from an online survey of more than 260 South Australian children and young people, the majority of whom were between 12 and 17 years of age (94%) in which the Commissioner asked what they think it takes to be child safe. Children and young people told the Commissioner they want adults to set-up up processes that create a cycle of continuous feedback. They will begin to believe adults are taking them seriously when their complaints, issues and concerns are acted upon in ways children and young people have suggested will work best; not based on assumptions adults have made about a child or young person’s life or situation

Read the full media release here
Download a copy of the report here



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