In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

healthdirect

24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500


Substantiated Child Abuse


Indicator description

The number of reports received during the year that were subsequently appraised and substantiated within the ACT.

What do we measure?

Under section 366 of the Children and Young People Act 2008, Child and Youth Protection Services may investigate (appraise) a Child Protection Report. An appraised report is substantiated when the matter reported meets the criteria as set out in sections 342 and 343 of the Children and Young People Act 2008.

Why is this important?

Children have a right to live in an abuse free environment. They are more likely to have enhanced health and wellbeing outcomes when they grow up in nurturing and supportive home environments. The immediate and later outcomes for children who have experienced abuse, or neglect are often poor, compared to those of children raised in supportive and secure environments.68

Policy Context

Since the previous reporting period, the number of notifications (Child Protection and Child Concern Reports) and investigations (appraisals) have increased. However, the number of substantiations has decreased. These findings demonstrate that there is significant public awareness regarding child abuse and neglect and how to report it within the ACT. Despite increased reporting within the community, the number of children subject to confirmed child abuse or neglect has decreased.

In the ACT, Child and Youth Protection Services have a legislative responsibility under the Children and Young People Act 2008 to facilitate and coordinate services that protect children and young people believed to be at risk of harm. This involves assessing risk and working with families and other professionals to resolve issues that compromise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

The ACT Government has made a significant investment in prevention and early intervention for children and families through A Step Up for Our Kids - One Step Can Make a Lifetime of Difference (Out of Home Care Strategy 2015-2020)69 reform. A Step Up for Our Kids places a strong emphasis on preventing children and young people from entering care, reunifying children with their families where it is safe to do so, and on moving children into permanent family settings as quickly as possible when they cannot return home.

In 2017, the ACT Government announced Our Booris, Our Way which is an independent review into the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people involved with Child and Youth Protection Services. An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander steering committee oversees the review, with an interim report 70 released in August 2018. The review addresses case planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people involved in the child protection system to ensure those children are thriving and supported to maintain connections with their family, culture and community.

In 2018, the ACT Government agreed to a ten-year plan to fundamentally change the DNA of the ACT human services system through the Early Support initiative. This initiative represents a new approach to investing and partnering with the community sector and to achieve purpose-led system transformation. This will shift from crisis-driven responses, where service impacts are less effective in changing life trajectories to earlier support which will improve people's long-term life outcomes and enhance well-being. The reform is a Whole of Government, Whole of Community initiative that will support positive life outcomes for young Canberrans and enable all key priorities of the ACT Children and Young People's Commitment 2015-2025.

How is the ACT Progressing?

Table 50: Child protection notification, investigations and substantiations, 2007-08 to 2016-17

Notifications

8,970

9,595

10,780

11,712

12,419

13,549

10,600

10,633

14,859

15,928

 

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Investigations

1,566

1,985

1,780

1,672

2,203

2,323

1,344

1,619

2,843

2,931

Substantiations

827

896

741

636

861

720

449

595

627

554

Source: AIHW 2016, Child Protection Australia: 2014-15 Child Welfare series no. 63 cat. no. CWS 57.

Note Disaggregates available are for the number of children subject to substantiations in the period.During 2016-17, the total number of child protection reports that were subsequently substantiated was 554 which was 3.4 per cent of the total number of reports. The data indicates that although the number of substantiations has seen fluctuations over the last ten years, the number had decreased from 896 in 2008-09 to 554 in 2016-17 (Table 50).

Definitions
Notification: Reporting concerns about child safety. Any person who has concerns about harm to a child may make a report — notification — to the state/territory’s statutory child protection service.
Investigation: Determining whether there are grounds for intervention. Child protection staff from the local office conducts the investigations. However, where the concern relates to a police matter — sexual abuse, or very serious physical abuse/neglect — most jurisdictions have arrangements in place for interviews with children and their families to be conducted jointly with police, as well as medical assessments to be conducted when necessary.
Source: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/child-protection-and-family-law…-joining-dots/child-protection-systems-australia

Table 51: Number of ACT children and young people subject of substantiated reports by age group 2012-13 to 2016-17

 

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

<1*

71

56

65

115

77

1-4 years

120

94

99

178

116

5-9 years

141

94

104

180

207

10-14 years

119

73

85

121

128

15-17 years*

42

21

31

33

26

Total

494

341

386

627

554

Source: AIHW 2016, Child Protection Australia: 2014-15 Child Welfare series no. 63 cat. no. CWS 57.

Note * The <1 category excludes unborn children. These children are included in the totals. These children were unborn at time of report, but born by commencement of the investigation.

The number of children and young people subject of substantiated reports (Table 51) has fluctuated significantly between 2013-14 and 2015-16, ranging from 341 to 627. In 2016-17 the majority of substantiations were experienced by children between five and nine years.

Table 52: Children and young people subject of substantiated reports by sex 2012-13 to 2016-17

 

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Male

234

179

183

314

283

Female

260

162

203

312

271

Total

494

341

386

627*

554

Source: AIHW 2016, Child Protection Australia: 2014-15 Child Welfare series no. 63 cat. no. CWS 57.

* Contains 1 unknown.

Table 53: Children and young people subject of substantiated reports by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status 2012-13 to 2016-17

 

2012-13

2013-4

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

84

66

98

156

175

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

309

275

273

409

379

Unknown

101

-

15

62

-

Total*

494

341

386

627

554

Source: AIHW 2016, Child Protection Australia: 2014-15 Child Welfare series no. 63 cat. no. CWS 57.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people has increased significantly from 84 in 2013 to 175 in 2017 which is a 48.0 per cent increase over the four-year period.

68 ACT Government 2016, A Picture of ACT’s Children and Young People 2016
69 ACT Government 2015, A Step Up for Our Kids —One Step Can Make a Lifetime of Difference (Out of Home Care Strategy 2015–2020)
70 Our Booris, Our Way Interim Report, August 2018