The Commonwealth's role in preventing child abuse: A report to the Minister for Family Services


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Content type
Research report

December 1994

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This report presents a five-tier model for the analysis of current Commonwealth child abuse prevention activities as well as for the recommendations for child abuse prevention programs which flow from that analysis. The tiers of the model are: the non-abusive society; non-abusive communities; healthy family environments; children at risk; children who have been harmed.

Chapter one of the report deals with community expectations about 'abuse' prevention; the National Child Abuse Prevention Strategy, and the meaning of child abuse and child abuse prevention. A review of the national and international child abuse prevention literature is also presented. Chapter 2 analyses media perceptions, prevalence and recording of child abuse, what the existing laws provide, and a proposed pilot project to do with preventing abuse in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Chapter 3 describes the national picture of child abuse prevention programs, and discusses the state of our national data collection on the prevalence of abuse and the effectiveness of intervention. Finally, Chapter 4 considers the range of 'solutions' and expectations raised by the community's perception of the prevalence of, and effectiveness of the response to child abuse; the state and territories' responsibility to prevent child abuse; the Commonwealth's present role; and, children's rights. An appendix lists Commonwealth departments with child / family programs indirectly related to preventing child abuse. Four other appendices are separately indexed. They are Community perceptions of the prevalence of child abuse: data from the Australian Living Standards Study, by Elizabeth Hardie, and three background papers by Danny Sandor: The statutory patchwork of Australian legislation protecting children and adolescents from abuse; Domestic violence legislation protecting children and adolescents from abuse; and, The protection of children and young people from abuse: an international human rights law background paper.