Number of children abused and neglected has increased
THE number of children subjected to substantiated child abuse and neglect rose by 6300 in 2011-12, a new report shows.
Child protection Australia 2011-12, released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on Friday, showed 38,700 children were victims of substantiated abuse - a rate of 7.4 per 1000 children.
An abuse notification to a department is considered substantiated when, after an investigation, it is concluded that there is sufficient reason to believe the child has been, is being, or is likely to be abused, neglected, or otherwise harmed.
Alarmingly children aged under one-year were most likely to be the subject of a substantiation, with the rate almost double that of the overall figure at 13.2 per 1000 children.
This was up from 12.1 per 1000 the previous year."In contrast, older children, aged 15-17, were least likely to be the subject of a substantiation, with a rate of 3.2 per 1000 children in 2011-12," said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.
The report found Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were almost eight times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse and neglect as non-indigenous children in 2011-12, and 10 times as likely to be in out-of-home care as at June 30 last year.
There were more than 252,000 abuse notifications in 2011-12, with 173,502 involving children.
Of these 46% were investigated, with 48,420 substantiations relating to 38,000 children.
Nationally, the most common type of substantiated abuse was emotional (36%), followed by neglect (31%), although the latter was the most common type of substantiated abuse for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
Across the country 12% of substantiations related to sexual abuse.
Queensland is the only state in which all notifications are investigated.
Nearly 40,000 children were in out-of-home care as of June 30 last year, with 90% of those on care and protection orders.
The time a child has spent in out-of-home care varied - while 38% of children in out-of-home care had been in a continuous placement for five or more years, a further 19% had been in their current placement for less than a year.
Across Australia, 93% of children in out-of-home care were placed in home-based care such as with foster carers or relatives/kin.
This follows a similar pattern to that observed in previous years.