Study on child abuse and neglect calls for urgent policy reform – Law Society Journal

The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS), recently published by the Medical Journal of Australia, is the first nationally representative study on the prevalence of all five forms of child maltreatment and a world-first examination of the resulting long-term health and social impacts over the course of an individual’s lifetime.

Let the ACMS findings sink in:

  • 39.6 per cent of Australians have been exposed to domestic violence as children
  • 32 per cent have been physically abused,
  • 30.9 per cent have been emotionally abused
  • 28.5 per cent have been sexually abused
  • 8.9 per cent have experienced neglect
  • the occurrence of more than one type of child maltreatment is common, affecting 2 in 5 Australians.

The ACMS also assessed the associated impact of maltreatment on Australians and found an increase in reliance on health services and professionals. Australians who were abused or neglected were:

  • almost 3 times as likely to develop a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety or PTSD
  • 2 times more likely to smoke
  • 6 times more likely to depend on cannabis
  • 4 times more likely to have self-harmed in the past year.

In all states and territories, it is legal for parents or carers to punish their children through reasonable physical force, with the intention of causing pain or discomfort. This can include smacking, pinching and even washing a child’s mouth out with soap. The right for parents to use physical punishment is established in some state and territory legislation, while other jurisdictions, such as in Victoria and the ACT, provide common law defences.

Australia’s legislation lags behind 65 countries that have made corporal punishment illegal. It is also inconsistent with international human rights guidelines to end all forms of violence against children, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Committee on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory.

Source: Study on child abuse and neglect calls for urgent policy reform – Law Society Journal

One thought on “Study on child abuse and neglect calls for urgent policy reform – Law Society Journal”

  1. Doesn’t include breastfeeding as a protector for abuse upto 86% reduction in harm.

    When presenting the author said gender when he meant sex. The slides said sex

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