New data released today shows a disturbing anomaly between the national figures for child abuse and those of the Northern Territory, according to Country Liberals Senator Nigel Scullion.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report showed that across Australia the number of reports about child abuse or neglect decreased by around 16%, while the number of substantiated cases dropped by 4%.
But in the NT, the number of reports increased by nearly 10%, and the number of substantiated cases increased by a staggering 45%.
“I think there’s cause for celebration that we have had a decrease in the number of reports and substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect across Australia,” Senator Scullion said.
“But when you look more closely at the figures, that trend has not been replicated in the Northern Territory – in fact we’ve had the biggest spike nationally in the number of substantiated cases of child abuse.
“The national program to prevent child abuse may be hitting the ground successfully in some places but it’s certainly not hitting the ground in the Northern Territory.
“To claim that the spike is a result of increased investigative resources and public awareness campaigns is disingenuous. These figures should be sending shock waves through both the Northern Territory and Federal levels of government.
“We’ve got the highest proportion of neglect in substantiated cases of any jurisdiction, and I believe that’s a symptom of parents not keeping a close enough eye on their kids, and alcohol abuse.
“There is no silver bullet, but clearly it’s about access to services and appropriate resources. For example in Alice Springs, people are calling for more policing but instead resources are being drawn away from these areas.”
Download media release:
Territory spike in reports and substantiated cases of child abuse 21.1.11.pdf