Time To Face Up To Child Abuse

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2nd September 2010, 09:41am - Views: 805

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September 2010


Media release

Time to face up to child abuse

With 55,000 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in Australia in 2008-09,

that’s one every 10 minutes, it’s time to face up to this alarming social problem.

It’s easy, almost comfortable, to turn your back on child abuse, to ignore those

niggling doubts about neighbours or the quiet, nervous kid on the football team.

But this Child Protection Week ACT for Kids is urging all Queenslanders to face

up to the problem.

ACT for Kids Executive Manager Programs and Research, Dr Katrina Lines, said

the statistics are shocking and they still don’t show the full extent of the


“We know child abuse and neglect is under-reported, a lot of people don’t act

on their suspicions or think someone else will so they don’t have to. That means

those kids and families don’t get the support they need to address and recover

from the problem,” Dr Lines said.

But she was quick to explain why people often don’t report abuse. 

“Most people think it’s not their business, that someone else will do something.

They’re afraid they might be wrong or that people will find out who reported the

abuse and even that the outcome may actually be worse than the status quo,”

she said.

In fact, people who report abuse to the Department of Communities, Child

Safety Services can remain anonymous, and it’s also not always the case that

children are removed. Early intervention support services are available that

work collaboratively with families to ensure a safe and healthy home for their


Dr Lines also points out that there are misconceptions around what constitutes

child abuse and neglect. 

“Sexual abuse is often the most sensational and horrific type of abuse we hear

about in the media and it shocks us. 

“While it’s also under-reported, it only accounts for approximately five percent

of confirmed cases of child abuse. Neglect and emotional abuse are far more

prevalent, and may result in more detrimental and long-term effects,” Dr Lines


It’s overwhelmingly the case that prompt professional intervention and support

is what determines a positive outcome for children who have experienced abuse

and neglect.

MORE 1 of 2

ACT for Kids is an Australian

charity providing free professional

therapy to treat and prevent child


Previously known as the Abused

Child Trust, we have helped

thousands of children affected by

abuse and neglect since 1988. 

Did you know?

In 2008-09, there were

339,454 reports made to

child protection services in

Australia. Authorities found

abuse claims were

substantiated in 54,621


The rate of abuse has more

than doubled over the past

10 years.

The number of children

being removed from their

parents has also doubled

over the past decade. At 30

June 2009, there were

34,069 young people in out-

of-home care.

The Australian Government

and State and Territory

governments announced in

2009 a national, long-term

approach for protecting

Australia’s children. ACT for

Kids is part of a coalition

working to ensure these

reforms produce better

protection for children.

ACT for Kids is calling on the

Australian Government to

make the ‘baby bonus’

contingent upon new

parents completing a basic

parenting course.

PAGE 2: Time to face up to child abuse

“When families are investigated for suspected abuse doors are also opened to access free professional

support. ACT for Kids provides free professional therapy to children and families, both to treat previous

abuse and neglect and also as early intervention to help families avoid that outcome,” Dr Lines said.

Child Protection Week, 5-11 September, is a timely reminder that as a society we have a very real

responsibility to protect children. The message for this year’s awareness week is that protecting children is

everybody’s business. It is time for all of us to face up to child abuse and neglect.

ACT for Kids, together with Channel Seven, launched the inaugural ‘Channel Seven /ACT for Kids Appeal’, 3-

10 September, to raise awareness funds for the vital services provided free to abused children and their

families throughout Queensland.     


ACT for Kids Chairman, Denis Loaney, said that with so many confirmed cases of child abuse in Australia, they

have good reason to set the ambitious target of raising $500,000 in eight days.

“We’ve been providing free professional therapy to treat and prevent child abuse across Queensland for over

20 years. The need for our professional services continues to increase and we want to reach out to all of the

children and families affected by child abuse and neglect, but we need help to fund that support,” Denis said.


ACT for Kids therapy centres located in Weipa, Cairns, Townsville, Gold Coast and Brisbane operate outreach

and remote services throughout Queensland. To donate and help face up to child abuse, visit

www.actforkids.com.au or call 1300 228 000.



ACT for Kids Communication and PR Manager

Kelly Morgan 07 3857 8866 or 0409 751 622


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