The Issue

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:

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:

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