MEDIA RELEASE – Child Maltreatment study shows a national shame

3 April 2023





A study released today by the Medical Journal of Australia shows we have a serious national problem with more than two thirds (62%) of Australians reporting that they’ve experienced childhood trauma from abuse or neglect.

“This is a national tragedy and shows we need far greater investment in primary prevention and intervention and a focus on child wellbeing to better protect children from the horrific long-term outcomes of trauma,” Doctor Katrina Lines, Act for Kids CEO said.

The study which surveyed over 8,500 Australians revealed nearly 40 per cent had experienced the effects of domestic and family violence.

Act for Kids alone is continuing to see significant demand for support in this area over the past three years, however we need better investment from all levels of government to adequately address the challenges. 

“As a country we must be more proactive in preventing trauma because we are seeing firsthand the negative lifelong health impacts for people who have experienced childhood trauma which affects them right through to adulthood,” Dr Lines explained.   

The landmark study found 32% of people have experienced physical abuse, 28% reported being sexually abused, 31% experienced emotional abuse and 9% of people had reported experiencing neglect as a child.

“These figures are far too high. It is deeply disturbing that we have so many people who have experienced abuse or neglect. One of the outcomes of trauma is the negative impact on mental health , which is clearly a national crisis at the moment.

“Act for Kids wants the Federal Government to use the study as a catalyst for change and make this a national priority so we can better protect children and therefore adults in the future.”

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