Putting Indigenous Child Abuse in the Northern Territory into Perspective

There were 319 substantiated instances of Indigenous child abuse in the Northern Territory in 2004/5. This compared to Qld 1,186, NSW 1,642 and Victoria 770. Perhaps the Commonwealth and other states should be sending an army of bureaucrats to study why the Northern Territory has a comparatively good record for looking after Indigenous children. But let us not doubt the motives of John Howard and Mal Brough in seizing control of NT Indigenous communities! Download the key statistics below.

Perhaps John Howard and Mal Brough should send in the troops to Victoria, the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales. Victoria has the highest number of Indigenous child abuse substantiations per 1000 children (63), followed by the ACT (56), then South Australia (43.2), then NSW (27.1). Qld has the highest number of child abuse substantiations in number (17,307) and has a rate of 14.1 per 1000 children.

In 2004/2005 there were a total of 473 child abuse substantiations in the Northern Territory – the second lowest of all of the States and Territories. Of these, 319 were cases of substantiated child abuse in Indigenous communities. NT’s relatively low rate of child abuse substantiations is 13.7 Indigenous child abuse substantiations per 1000 children. Only Western Australia (12.2) and Tasmania (5.8) had lower rates of child abuse substantiations per 1000 children.

The worrying trend however is that in all States and Territories Indigenous child abuse substantiations have increased and in a number of States and the Northern Territory the rate per 1000 children has doubled over the past five years.

Statistics in this policy note derive from: the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's reportChild Protection Australia 2004-05http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10245 The report is based on information from three national child protection data collections - child protection notifications, investigations and substantiations; children on care and protection orders; and children in out-of-home care. These data are collected each year by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare from the community services departments in each state and territory. Most of the data in this report cover the 2004-05 financial year, although data on trends in child protection are also included. Published 18 January 2006; ISSN  1320-081X; ISBN-13 978 1 74024 528 9; ISBN-10 1 74024 528 8; AIHW cat. no. CWS 26; 96pp

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