Did you know?
In 2014-15, 1 in 35 children received child protection services, with 73% being repeat clients (AIHW 2016)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be receiving child protection services.
Emotional abuse and neglect were the most common primary and co-occurring types of substantiated abuse and neglect.
During 2014-15, there were 12,948 foster carer households and 18,401 relative/kinship carer households with a placement.
Imagine a society afflicted by a scourge which struck down a quarter of its daughters and up to one in eight of its sons. Imagine also that this plague, while not immediately fatal, lurked in the bodies and minds of these young children for decades, making them up to sixteen times more likely to experience its disastrous long-term effects. Finally, imagine the nature of these effects: life-threatening starvation, suicide, persistent nightmares, drug and alcohol abuse and a whole host of intractable psychiatric disorders requiring life-long treatment.
What should that society's response be?
In Australia, thirty years of child abuse prevention efforts have not reduced the prevalence of childhood trauma and abuse. Investment in primary prevention has been limited, and secondary and tertiary forms of prevention have targeted the poor, implicitly locating the burden of abuse in impoverished and marginalised communities. Public health and health promotion principles have been inconsistently applied to child abuse prevention, and child abuse is often framed as a symptom of family dysfunction and disadvantage, rather then a set of harmful behaviours that need to be identified and changed.
Primary prevention requires simultaneous effort on multiple levels to promote, and sustain, lasting social and behavioural change. We need approaches that accept that child abuse is a widespread and harmful social practice that is reinforced every day by long-standing and problematic cultural beliefs and values.
To view a Resource Sheet prepared by the Australian Institute of Family Studies outlining the different Mandatory Reporting Requirements throughout Australia click here.
If you are concerned that a child is being abused you can speak anonymously with the government authorities in your state or territory using the phone numbers below
ACT: Care and Protection Services, 1300 556 729.
NSW: Child Protection Helpline, 13 21 11.
NT: Child Abuse Prevention Service, 1800 688 009.
Qld: Child Safety Services, 1800 811 810 (business hours) or 1800 177 135 (after hours).
SA: Child Abuse Report Line, 13 14 78. Tas: Child and Family Services Line, 1800 001 219.
Vic: Child Protection Crisis Line, 13 12 78.
WA: Crisis Care, (08) 9325 1111; 1800 199 008 (for callers outside Perth).
Young people can call Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. NAPCAN lists state services and national helplines. Visit www.napcan.org.au.