Preventing child abuse in all its forms, including neglect and the impacts of family violence is a significant challenge in all communities. Child abuse and trauma is a substantial public health issue. It requires a public health approach to prevention.
- Primary prevention - stopping abuse before it occurs
- Secondary Prevention – focussing on groups which are at particular risks
- Tertiary Prevention – responding to those who have already been abused to minimise the risk of further harm.
In Australia, there has been a concerted effect to prevent child abuse. However the prevalence of abuse continues to rise. 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.
Safe nurturing and protective relationships with primary care-givers and significant others are important in helping children establish a secure base from which to learn and grow. Relationships with other family members, teachers, peers in their home and neighbourhood all help to shape a child’s experiences.
The following lists state and territory departments to which you can report suspected child abuse and neglect: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/reporting-abuse-and-neglect
Guidelines around mandatory reporting can be found here: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/mandatory-reporting-child-abuse-and-neglect
Information on responding to children and young people’s disclosures is here: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/responding-children-and-young-people-s-disclosures-abu
Additional resources are here: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/topics/child-abuse-and-neglect/resources