More Work Needed to Protect Australian Children - AIHW Report
20 January 2012 at 3:12 pm
Much more work needs to be done in areas of child abuse and neglect in Australia, despite the decline in cases being reported to welfare departments, according to figures released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The new report ‘Child Protection Australia 2010-11’ shows that while there has been a 13 per cent fall in the number of children subject to notifications of possible abuse or neglect compared with the previous year, the number of children on care and protection orders had risen by four per cent.
The report says the number of children in out-of-home care rose by five per cent, indicating the need for all levels of government to address the issue and prevent child abuse and neglect.
Federal Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, said that while it was heartening to see improvement in some areas of the child protection system, there was much more that needed to be done.
“The Gillard Government is working with state and territory governments and non-government organisations in implementing the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020, our long-term approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australian children,” Collins said.
According to AIHW spokesman, Tim Beard, children aged under 12 months were most likely to be the subject of a substantiation of child abuse or neglect.
“Over the past five years we have seen a large fall in reported rates of abuse and neglect for those under 12 months of age, from 17 to 12 per 1,000 children,’ Beard said.
The AIHW report also highlighted the over representation of Indigenous children in all areas of the child protection system with Indigenous children 7.6 times more likely to be the subject of a child protection substantiation than non-Indigenous children.
Collins said that the government was working with the states and territories – as well as NGOs – to address the high rates of family violence and child protection in Indigenous communities.
“We will continue to build on our progress through the National Framework to improve the lives of all Australian children across the country,” she said.