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Australian Children Blame Drugs and Alcohol for Abuse


20 November 2015 at 1:42 pm
Ellie Cooper
Seventy per cent of Australian children blamed abuse at the hands of adults on drugs and alcohol, compared to just 4 per cent globally, one of the world’s largest polls of children’s views revealed.

Ellie Cooper | 20 November 2015 at 1:42 pm


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Australian Children Blame Drugs and Alcohol for Abuse
20 November 2015 at 1:42 pm

Seventy per cent of Australian children blamed abuse at the hands of adults on drugs and alcohol, compared to just 4 per cent globally, one of the world’s largest polls of children’s views revealed.

ChildFund’s sixth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, released on Friday to coincide with Universal Children’s Day, showed that this mistreatment by adults took both physical and emotional form.

ChildFund Australia CEO, Nigel Spence, said the finding echoed previous survey results. In 2013, 45 per cent of children surveyed cited alcohol as the main cause of violence in Australia.

“We know that alcohol-fuelled violence is commonly reported in the news and may also be experienced in the home,” Spence said.  

“This result is a stark reminder that Australian children comprehend how alcohol and drugs can lead to abuse, and demonstrates their high degree of concern.”

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In comparison, the global survey of 6000 children found that almost half (47 per cent) of children from countries in Asia say that adults mistreat children because “it is the child’s fault”, while in Africa almost one in four (23 per cent) children say adults mistreat children because “the family needs the money children can earn".

Almost half of children surveyed in Australia, and other developed countries, responded that adults mistreat children because they were victims of abuse themselves. This compares with only one in four children in developing countries.

Globally, 42 per cent of children named home and school as the places where the are most likely to be at risk from harm. In Australia more than half of surveyed children, 55 per cent, were especially concerned about the risk of abuse school.

The survey also found an overwhelming majority, 85 per cent, of Australian children said they are at risk of mistreatment and abuse online – three times higher than the global response of 28 per cent.

mistreat and abuse

Thirty-one per cent of Australian children said adults should listen to what children have to say about keeping safe from mistreatment. Overall, children globally, 42 per cent, are united in their desire to have more rules and laws to protect children, and to punish those who abuse them.

“The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey findings come just months after the United Nations formally launched the Sustainable Development Goals, which commit world leaders to achieving child protection targets for the first time. We must listen and respond to children’s concerns in order to provide the most effective response,” Spence said.   

“Our survey shows there’s much to be done to ensure every child in Australia and around the world feels safe, and has the best chance of a childhood free from violence and exploitation.”

Download the Small Voices, Big Dreams report here.


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.


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