January 21, 2005
Child abuse on the rise
January 21, 2005 [Northern Territory News] Australia
By Rebecca Hewett
The NT has the second-highest rate of child abuse in the country with substantiated cases leaping 60 per cent in the past year, a national study has found.
The study, conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, found the number of cases in the NT increased from 327 in the 12 months from 2002-03 to 527 in 2003-04 year -- Australia's second-highest rate per 1000 children.
Queensland had the highest rate, with 14 children per 1000 affected.
In the NT, the rate was 8.7 children per 1000.
But the NT had the highest number of children on protection orders -- 5.8 per 1000 compared to 5.4 in Tasmania.
The number of reported but not substantiated abuse cases increased by 25 per cent in 2003-04.
The study defined child abuse as neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
Spokesman for the Family and Community Services Advisory Council Barry Hansen said the jump could be due to many factors.
"It could be that there has been a genuine increase in actual cases, or there could simply have been an increase in reporting because there's greater attention on it now," Mr Hansen said.
"Thirdly it could be an aberration. But no increase in substantiated cases is desirable," he said.
The NT was unusual in that most children involved in substantiated cases of child abuse came from two parent families.
In Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory most were from single parent families.
Physical abuse was the most common form of child abuse in the NT, accounting for 38 per cent of substantiated cases, where emotional abuse and neglect figured highly in other states and territories.
The study found children aged one to four were most likely to be taken into care in the NT.
Girls were more vulnerable than boys, with 191 girls placed under care and protection orders in 2003-04 compared to 153 boys.
Police were the group most likely to report abuse.
Posted by Nancy at January 21, 2005 10:10 AM