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Child protection and Indigenous status

Crime facts info no. 128

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, August 2006

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare publication Child protection in Australia each year reports on child abuse and neglect notifications and substantiations, and the way in which authorities deal with these. In Australia, child protection is the responsibility of community services departments in each state and territory. Following reports of child abuse or neglect (known as notifications), the relevant department launches an investigation. Cases in which abuse or neglect is found to have occurred are known as substantiations, and can lead to an application for a care and protection order before a court. The figure below shows that in 2004-05 Indigenous children in all age groups were much more likely to be the subject of substantiations than non-Indigenous children. The rate of child abuse or neglect substantiations was greatest in the age group 0-4 years for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children (3,236 and 881 per 100,000, respectively), declining with increased age.

Children who were the subject of abuse or neglect substantiations, by age and Indigenous status, 2004-05, rate per 100,000a

(a) per 100,000 Indigenous or non-Indigenous children in relevant age group. Rates were calculated using Australian Bureau of Statistics population estimates for June 30 2005. For the Indigenous population, high series estimates were used.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2006. Child protection in Australia 2004-05. Canberra: AIHW (Child welfare series no. 38).