In August 2005, in response to the Territory as Parent - Review of the Safety of Children in Care in the ACT and of ACT Child Protection Management recommendation for consolidation of care and protection, an Office for Children, Youth and Family Support (OCYFS) was established.
Notifications of abuse
In the ACT, any person mandated under section 159 (1) of the Children and Young People Act 1999 that suspects a child has suffered physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect, must, under section 159 (2), make a report. Any report made "in good faith" is free from any civil liability, however failure to report suspected abuse is a criminal offence, that may result in fines and/or imprisonment. Any member of the public may also make a report regarding a child who may be in need of care and protection under section 158 (voluntary reporting).
A child protection report is recorded in the ACT when a contact regarding concern for a child is received. The number of child protection notifications in the ACT increased from 7,275 in 2004-05 to 8,064 in 2005-06, up 789 cases. Of the total notifications recorded in 2005-06, 3,292 (41%) were investigated. Of these investigations, 2,497 (76%) had been finalised by the end of the period and a further 795 were ongoing.
School personnel were the source of notification for 17% of the 2,497 finalised investigations. Other sources included non-government organisations (16%) and police (15%). Parents/guardians and health personnel (hospitals/health centres, medical practitioners and other health personnel) each accounted for 10%. Other relatives and friends/neighbours each accounted for 8%.
Forty-nine per cent of finalised investigations were substantiated. Of the 1,277 substantiated cases of neglect and abuse in the ACT, most (71%) were for Emotional abuse. This was followed by Neglect (18%), Physical abuse (9%) and Sexual abuse (2%).
8.5 Child abuse substantiations, ACT
|Physical abuse |
|Sexual abuse |
|Emotional abuse |
|Total substanstiations |
|(a) The increase in substantiations in 2003-04 relates to the increase in notifications in the ACT due to changed arrangements for recording reports of concern about children and young people. Recent publicity from the inquiries conducted by the Commissioner for Public Administration has also increased public awareness of child abuse. |
|Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child Protection, Australia, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06. |
Child protection orders
A child may be admitted to a care and protection order under the Children and Young People Act 1999 for a range of reasons including:
- when the child has been the subject of a child protection substantiation
- where there was an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the child and the parents
- where the parents are unwilling or unable to adequately care for the child.
In 2005-06, 256 children were admitted to child protection orders. Sixty-five percent (166) of these were being admitted for the first time. There were 211 children discharged from protection orders in 2005-06.