Substantiated cases of child abuse increase in Queensland

8 April 2013





An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released 8 March2013 shows an increase in substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Queensland, and nationally.
In the 12 months 2011-12, there were 37,781 Australian children subject of substantiated abuse and neglect, an increase from 31,527 the year before. In Queensland the number of children confirmed as abused or neglected rose to 6,974 in the same period (from 5,974).
ACT for Kids CEO, Dr Neil Carrington, said the statistics are shocking, but need to be interpreted with caution.
“The statistics are increasing, and we know that these numbers are only the reported cases, thousands more kids slip through the cracks. But we also need to look at why these numbers are increasing – there are many reasons these numbers change.
“To me this shows an increase in community awareness of abuse and neglect, and that leads to more reports. Legislation changes and mandatory reporting can also impact these numbers. We encourage people to be aware and to report concerns; we are all responsible for protecting children and young people.
“But it also shows that the issue of child abuse and neglect isn’t going to go away if, as a community, we ignore it. There are significant social issues underpinning this problem.
“It is overwhelmingly the case that parents love their kids, but parenting can be tough and when you combine that with unemployment, tight finances, social isolation and lack of family and community support networks, it can become incredibly stressful,” Dr Carrington said.
The report also shows that while emotional abuse remains the most common type of substantiated abuse nationally, neglect has become the more common in Queensland. In 2011-12, there were 3,254 substantiated cases of neglect, 42.4 per cent of all substantiated cases. Emotional abuse still remains high, with 2,702 confirmed cases, 35.2 per cent of cases.
“The causes of child abuse and neglect are often complex, but in our work we see the very real benefits of early intervention and support for families. We also see the result of trauma from abuse and neglect; these kids need intensive therapy to help them overcome their experiences.
“The increased pressure on families means there are more and more people who need our help. We want to be able to help everyone who needs us, but we have limited resources.
“It’s our mission to ensure every Australian child has the happy, healthy childhood they deserve. But we can’t do that alone, it’s a community responsibility. We can all make a positive difference in the lives and futures of children and young people,” Dr Carrington said.