Who We Are

NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) was co-founded in 1987 by Rosemary Sinclair AO and Christine Stewart OAM.

Since then NAPCAN has made a significant contribution to the safety and wellbeing of Australia's children and young people by raising public awareness of child abuse and neglect and its impacts, and by developing and promoting effective prevention strategies and programs.

NAPCAN is governed by a Board of Directors, and has a highly experienced team of program, policy and advocacy staff located around Australia. In addition NAPCAN has the support of an extensive network of professionals, practitioners and concerned individuals who all donate their time and expertise to support our prevention strategies.

NAPCAN is a "for purpose" organisation which has both deductible gift recipient (DGR) and public benevolent institution (PBI) status with the Australian Tax Office.

NAPCAN acknowledges the devastating impact of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities. To all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, NAPCAN pledges a commitment to walk alongside you to create stronger communities that can protect and nurture your families and children. We acknowledge your past and present suffering, we value your cultural wisdom, and we will listen to and learn from your voices. Download NAPCAN's Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities.

Our Strategy

NAPCAN’s strategy is to support and encourage changes in individual and community behaviour to stop child abuse and neglect before it starts by:

Promoting quality child abuse prevention research
Promoting quality research so the causes and impact of child abuse and neglect can be better understood and effective ways to prevent it can be developed and measured.

Advocating for child safe policies and strategies
Advocating for changes in policies and strategies that place the wellbeing and safety of children and young people first.

Coordinating National Child Protection Week and promoting the Play Your Part strategy
Coordinating National Child Protection Week and promoting the Play Your Part strategy to invite all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. “Protecting children is everyone’s business.”
Launching on Father’s Day every year National Child Protection Week, now in its 25th year, supports and encourages the safety and wellbeing of Australian children and families through the Play Your Part Awards, events, programs and resources. Read more about NCPW here.

Demonstrating good practice
Developing and promoting community led prevention programs and initiatives, that are evidenced based and effective in reducing the risks of abuse and neglect for children and young people, through our own programs such as Love Bites, All Children Being Safe, #Friends and promoting others through the Play Your Part Awards.

Supporting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people
Providing resources and training to support the safety and wellbeing of children and young people ranging from role based factsheets and brochures to child centred training, programs and initiatives such as the Aboriginal Girls Circle.

The Issue

Child Abuse & Neglect in Australia

Child abuse and neglect is one of Australia's most significant social problems.
Last year over 35,000 Australian children were proven to have been abused or neglected.

The term 'child abuse' includes:

  • Physical abuse: non-accidental aggressive act towards a child including slapping, shaking, punching, kicking etc.*
  • Psychological abuse: includes rejecting, ignoring, terrorising and/or not providing emotional support and care.*
  • Sexual abuse: any sexual activity between a child and an adult or older person (5 or more years older). Includes fondling, oral or anal and vaginal penetration, exposing or involving a child in pornography, voyeurism etc.*
  • Neglect: failure to provide for a child's basic needs, including not enough food, shelter, clothing, supervision, medical attention etc.*
  • Children's exposure to Family Violence: a child being present, either hearing or seeing, while a parent or sibling is subjected to physical, sexual or psychological abuse or is exposed to damage caused by the abuser.

Child abuse is rarely a one off incident and is always harmful. Tens of thousands of children are psychologically and/or physically harmed each year or die from the impact of child abuse and neglect. Far too often that damage lasts a lifetime.

Child abuse is known to increase the risks of:

  • Substance addiction
  • Crime
  • Homelessness
  • Poor physical health
  • Educational failure
  • Poor employability prospects
  • Depression & suicide

As a result, past victims of abuse and neglect are grossly over-represented in the populations of our prisons, as perpetrators of crime and violence, and amongst the economically and socially disadvantaged members of our society.

Given the size of the problem, and the psychological, emotional and physical damage that can result, child abuse and neglect represents one of the greatest barriers and threats to the wellbeing of Australian children, young people and the next generation of children and adults. It affects mental, emotional and physical health, levels of violence and crime, addiction, educational attainment and employment.

The consequences can be lifelong and it has been found that the perpetration of violence and abuse can also be passed on to future generations (Tomison, 1996). Proven cases of abuse and neglect affecting Indigenous children average six times greater than the broader population.

*AIFS National Child Protection Clearing House

Our Board

NAPCAN is governed by a National Board of Directors who bring professional expertise in research, legal, finance and marketing & communications.


  • Teresa Scott
  • Dr Sue Packer AM
    Vice President
  • Olya Booyar
  • Professor Morag McArthur
  • Dr Shanti Raman, MBBS, FRACP, MAE
  • Richard Cooke
    Executive Director