Family Matters No. 43, 1996

Australian living standards: New research


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Content type
Family Matters issue

March 1996


This issue of Family Matters contains a number of articles that draw on the Australian Living Standards Study (ALSS), undertaken by the Institute on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.

Following a report on new developments at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the director's report discusses the increasing pressure child protection services throughout Australia are being placed under. The numbers of confirmed cases of child abuse have increased over the last five years. There is not enough information, however, to determine whether the figures represent a real increase in the frequency of child abuse, or an increase in the willingness of professionals and others to report instances of suspected abuse, or a systematic lowering of the threshold for what we choose to interpret as maltreatment. The levels of reporting of child maltreatment in Australia and the United Kingdom are compared. Finally, the author considers the characteristics of effective child protection services. He suggests services should be based on assessment of family functioning and need rather than the investigation of alleged incidence of abuse. Furthermore, services should be multi-disciplinary and child protection and child welfare/family support services coordinated rather than separated.


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