Child abuse and protection in Australia

18 March 2009

Janet Phillips
Social Policy Section

Contents

Introduction
Defining child abuse
The prevalence of child abuse in Australia
Child abuse policy over time
Commonwealth responsibilities
  Directed programs
  Other programs
  National Child Protection Framework
State and territory responsibilities
The costs of child abuse
International initiatives
Some literature on future directions for child protection
Appendix: Key resources
  Australian
  States and territories
  International
  Key reports
  Recent child abuse inquiries

Introduction

Support services and programs aimed at preventing child abuse, protecting children and supporting families affected by child abuse are primarily a state and territory responsibility. At present, the Commonwealth plays a relatively minor role in child abuse prevention through the funding of the National Child Protection Clearinghouse, the collection of data and a few specific programs. However, more public attention and concern about child abuse in recent years has seen an increasing role for all governments with respect to child protection policies, strategies and programs designed to help alleviate the problem. The Rudd Government has committed to developing a National Child Protection Framework which is likely to focus on more effective prevention strategies, inter-agency collaboration and data collection across jurisdictions.

This Background Note provides an overview of child abuse and child protection in Australia. It includes background on Commonwealth, state and territory responsibilities, funding and legislation; and provides links to some key resources and organisations in the child protection area. It also identifies some literature on the future directions of child protection. It reviews and updates the contents of Who's looking after the kids: an overview of child abuse and child protection in Australia.[1]

Defining child abuse

In 1991, the National Child Protection Council was established in Australia. In one of its first reports the Council defined child abuse as ‘a variety of acts or behaviours which result in harm to children. It encompasses physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional abuse and, neglect’.[2]  Whilst child protection matters are sometimes dealt with slightly differently across the states and territories, these four broad child abuse categories continue to be consistent across the jurisdictions.

In the 1997 edition of Australia’s Welfare, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) details how child abuse is defined and how data is collected on child abuse in Australia:

The term ‘child abuse and neglect’ can mean very different things to different people, depending on the context in which it is used. For the purposes of collecting national information, however, ‘child abuse and neglect’ can generally be defined as occurring when a child has been, is being, or is likely to be subjected to physical, emotional or sexual actions or inactions which have resulted in, or are likely to result in significant harm or injury to the child. In the main, it refers to situations where there are protective issues for the child because the person believed to be responsible for the abuse or neglect is a parent, family member or some other person with responsibility for the care of the child; or where the person responsible for the child is unable or unwilling to protect the child from abuse or neglect. Only incidents of abuse or neglect notified to community services departments are included in the national data collection on child abuse and neglect.[3]

The prevalence of child abuse in Australia

It is important to note that the available data on child abuse in Australia only includes reported abuse and neglect and does not reveal the true extent of the problem—the rate of non-reporting of child abuse and neglect is unknown.[4] Although the requirements vary between the states and territories, all jurisdictions have legislation mandating the reporting (notification) of suspected child abuse or neglect by certain groups of workers such as medical professionals or police officers. Child protection notifications are assessed to see if an investigation is required. Once an investigation has been finalised the notification is classified either as substantiated or not substantiated. The three main types of data currently collected in each state and territory are: notifications of abuse, investigations of abuse and substantiations of abuse.

The main data (which includes information on developments in child protection policies, care and protection orders, out-of-home care and family support services) is published by the AIHW each year—the 2009 edition is Child Protection Australia, 2007–08.The following tables from this publication present the three types of data for all states and territories and for Australia as a whole:

Number of notifications, states and territories, 1999-2000 to 2007-08

Source: AIHW, Child Protection Australia 2007–08, p. 23.

Notifications, by type of action, states and territories, 2007-08

Source: AIHW, Child Protection Australia 2007–08, p. 21.

Number of substantiations of notifications received during the relevant year, states and territories, 1999-2000 to 2007-08
Source: AIHW, Child Protection Australia 2007–08, p. 25.

Table 2.3 shows that the number of reports or notifications of child abuse has been increasing—rising from 266 745 in 2005–06 to 309 448 in 2006–07 and 317 526 in 2007–08. Table 2.1 shows that the proportion of investigations in 2007–08 ranged from 18 per cent in the ACT to 100 per cent in Queensland (where all notifications are investigated). Table 2.4 indicates that in 2006–07, the number of substantiations of notifications received during the year increased by 4300 from the previous year. However, in 2007–08 the number of substantiations of notifications fell by 5110. However, this decrease was not experienced across all jurisdictions.[5]

These figures in themselves do not necessarily mean that the rate of abuse is either increasing or decreasing. The increasing number of notifications may well be due to a greater awareness of child abuse over the period reviewed and the fact that some of the states and territories have changed the way they report on matters of child abuse. The decreasing number of substantiations may be an indication of the success of intensive family support services in some jurisdictions—the number of children accessing such services has doubled between 2006–07 and 2007–08.[6]

Child abuse policy over time

In recent years there has been much more awareness of child abuse as an issue and the reporting and analysis of it is now much more open than has been the case in the past. This increased awareness and reporting has meant that a number of institutions (for example, sectors of the church, various institutions that house or care for children and government departments responsible for child protection), have increasingly come under the spotlight for past and present practices that may have adversely affected children in their care.

A major trend over the past decade in terms of child protection policy has been a move away from more punitive measures to an increased emphasis on early intervention and education strategies. There is now a greater recognition of the complex nature of the causes of child abuse and the advantages of preventing child abuse before it happens as opposed to dealing with it after it has occurred. A more ‘holistic’ child protection policy framework is gradually emerging to encompass a range of areas, including employment, education, health and family relationships.

A 2008 paper from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), A national approach for child protection: project report, includes a chapter on the history of child protection systems in Australia and internationally. It follows the evolution of child abuse prevention measures from the ‘child rescue movement’ and other philanthropic endeavours in the nineteenth century to more formal enactments of government policy through legislation. The paper also includes national comparisons of state and territory systems over the years.[7]

In research conducted for the National Child Protection Clearinghouse on the history of child abuse in Australia and how child protection measures have been developed over time, Adam Tomison argues that child protection policies have tended to be ‘cyclical’ and that many policies have been tried by governments and other agencies over many years with mixed results.[8] It remains to be seen what new measures will emerge from the Rudd Government’s proposed National Child Protection Framework.

Commonwealth responsibilities

The Commonwealth has traditionally played a relatively minor role in funding initiatives directly designed to prevent child abuse, for example through the funding of the National Child Protection Clearinghouse, the collection of data and a few specific programs. Other Commonwealth programs, such as the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, may indirectly assist in protecting children. In recent years there has been a trend towards a more systematic and national approach with respect to child abuse issues and as a consequence the Commonwealth has become more involved in the area of child abuse prevention and child abuse monitoring.

Directed programs

The main role in child abuse prevention directly carried out by the Commonwealth is via programs funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).[9] The Commonwealth provides funding for the following child abuse prevention initiatives and programs:

  • Responding Early Assisting Children Program (REACh)—through this program the Commonwealth aims to improve access to support services by funding state and territory based projects. There are currently 43 REACh funded projects listed on the website.
  • The National Child Protection Clearinghouse based in the Australian Institute of Family Studies—FaHCSIA funds the Clearinghouse to disseminate information and research on child protection activities to stakeholders in the field, including state and territory policy makers.
  • The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN)—FaHCSIA funds several NAPCAN initiatives such as National Child Protection Week, Family and Community workshops, and the Community Action Kit. NAPCAN also receives funding from the Australian Council for Children and Youth Organisations (ACCYO). FaHCSIA provides some funding support for ACCYO to assist organisations to protect children and young people in their care.

Other programs

Many of the mainstream community services programs the Commonwealth funds and administers have an impact on the goal of child abuse prevention. For example, health (early prevention programs, immunisation programs); social security (the payment of an array of benefits to those in need); housing (rent assistance, programs under the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement and other joint programs like the Supported Accommodation Program); disability services (programs funded under the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement); and family policy such as the ‘Stronger Families Strategy’ and various activities of the Attorney General’s Department and the Family Court that are designed to help and strengthen families.

FaHCSIA programs impacting on child abuse prevention include:

  • The Stronger Families and Community Strategy that includes parenting and family support programs, early childhood support initiatives, and other programs targeting early childhood and family support.
  • The Family Relationships Services Program providing services and support for families going through disruption in an attempt to minimise the emotional, economic and social costs to the family and children.[10]
  • The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), announced by the Howard Government on 21 June 2007 in response to the Little Children are Sacred report from the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse.[11] 

National Child Protection Framework

The Rudd Government has committed to developing a National Child Protection Framework which is likely to focus on more effective prevention strategies, inter-agency collaboration and data collection across jurisdictions. The Government is consulting widely to ensure the framework is practical and has developed a discussion paper with input from key stakeholders, Australia’s children: safe and well—a national framework for protecting Australia’s children: a discussion paper for consultation, to help inform the debate. The discussion paper identified the key action points to be:

  • Stronger prevention focus
  • Better collaboration between services
  • Improving responses for children in care and young people leaving care
  • Improving responses to Indigenous children
  • Attracting and retaining the right workforce
  • Improving child protection systems.[12]

It is worth noting that the Rudd Government also announced the establishment of a National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Children on 26 May 2008. The Council was given the responsibility of drafting a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children in consultation with stakeholders. The National Plan website states that:

The National Plan will complement other important work being progressed by the Government, including the development of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, the evaluation of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, and the work of the Social Inclusion Board.[13]

Note: On 30 April 2009 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the release of the new framework, Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business: National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020. As expected, the emphasis in the plan is on early intervention programs, better support for children in care and their  families, and improved information-sharing between the states and territories. The federal government will also investigate the option of establishing a national children’s commissioner.

State and territory governments will now work together to develop an Implementation Plan. In addition, a Ministerial Forum on Protecting Australia’s Children will be convened to bring together Ministers with responsibilities under the National Framework.

State and territory responsibilities

The basic framework of protection and support services aimed at preventing child abuse and helping children and families affected by child abuse is essentially a state or territory responsibility. There are two direct strands of policies aimed at preventing and reducing child abuse: child protection services (the receiving and assessment of abuse cases, provision and referral of clients to support services and the use of statutory responses where necessary) and supported placement services (essentially ‘out of home’ services to remove the child from harmful situations).

One key response to child abuse across jurisdictions in Australia over the years has been the introduction by most of the states and territories of mandatory reporting of child abuse. This means that medical practitioners—and often other professionals such as teachers, police and health workers—are required by law to report any suspected or actual cases of child abuse to the relevant authorities.[14]

The following table provides links to the relevant departmental sites in each state and territory and the main legislation covering child protection in each jurisdiction:

NSW

Department of Community Services and the
Commission for Children and Young People

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998

VIC

Department of Human Services

Child Safety Commissioner

Children, Youth and Families Act 2005

Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005

Qld

Department of Child Safety

Child Protection Act 1999

WA

Department for Child Protection

Children and Community Services Act 2004

SA

Department for Families and Communities

Children's Protection Act 1993 (as amended in 2006)

TAS

Commissioner for Children

Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1997

ACT

Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services—Office for Children Youth and Family support

Children and Young People Act 2008

NT

Department of Health and Families

Care and Protection of Children Act 2007

 The costs of child abuse

The personal, economic and social costs of child abuse are significant. If the estimates take into account such things as health system expenditure, additional educational assistance, protection programs, productivity losses, government expenditure across jurisdictions and other factors that make up the ‘burden of disease’ over a lifetime, the costs extend into the billions.[15]

A report released by Access Economics in November 2008, The cost of child abuse in Australia, found that a conservative estimate of the annual cost of child abuse and neglect in 2007 came to $4 billion with the value of the burden of disease representing a further $6.7 billion.[16]

Annual costs of child abuse and neglect, 2007 ($ million)

Source: Access Economics, The cost of child abuse in Australia, 2008, p. vi.

The report also estimated that the lifetime costs for children reportedly abused for the first time in 2007 were $6 billion with the burden of disease representing a further $7.7 billion.[17]

Lifetime costs of child abuse and neglect, 2007 ($ million) (Net present value)

Source: Access Economics, The cost of child abuse in Australia, 2008, p. vii.

The Access Economics report also found that child abuse and neglect result in poor academic performance, greater delinquency and substance abuse and poor labour market outcomes. The study estimated that additional educational expenditure over a lifetime for children reportedly first abused in 2007 came to $428 million, health costs came to $437.4 million and the estimated loss of lifetime earnings came to $212.6 million.[18]

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2009 shows that the economic costs of child abuse to governments are significant. Approximately $2 billion was spent across government jurisdictions on child protection in 2007–08. This was an increase of 13.6 per cent from 2006–07 and expenditure on child protection and out-of-home care services continued to increase in all jurisdictions. Out-of-home care made up 64 per cent ($1.3 billion) of this expenditure.[19]

The findings of older studies are in line with the Access Economics report in showing the significance of the costs of child abuse and neglect to Australia. According to a major review conducted by the National Child Protection Clearinghouse in 2005, child abuse is associated with a wide range of immediate and long-term negative outcomes that include low self-esteem, increased fear, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide and many other physical and mental ailments. There is also evidence to show that child victims of abuse may have a much higher risk of maltreating children themselves as adults.[20] These events have a significant impact upon an individual’s ability to function within society, particularly in the areas of employment, educational attainment, relationship development, and parenting.

In a study specifically on child sex abuse, researchers found that child sexual abuse is a major cause of mental and other health problems. According to the study:

There is now an established body of knowledge clearly linking a history of child sexual abuse with higher rates in adult life of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders.[21]

Another study published in 2003 by the Kids First Foundation, Report into the cost of child abuse and neglect in Australia, showed that if estimates of the economic cost to Australia are broadened to include community, human and social costs, the figures escalate. The report conservatively estimated that the annual cost of child abuse and neglect in Australia in 2001–02 came to almost $5 billion. These calculations included both long term human and social costs and public and community intervention costs. However, some of the spin-offs of child abuse such as homelessness, substance abuse, poor educational outcomes and chronic health problems were not included in the calculations for this report.[22]

Regardless of the methodology used in the calculations, there is no doubt that all are in agreement with regard to the significant short and long term costs to government and the community as a whole.

International initiatives

The issues involved in preventing child abuse are complex and most child welfare authorities around the world struggle to make a difference. In the case of mandatory reporting, for example, there is so much variation in the way cases are reported and by whom, that it is almost impossible to compare outcomes across jurisdictions, but none of the various systems appear to be particularly successful in reducing levels of child abuse. The USA, Canada and every state and territory in Australia has some form of mandatory reporting, but the specifics vary widely and with mixed results.[23]

However, over the past decade, international child protection policy in many countries has been moving towards a greater recognition of the effectiveness of early intervention and family-focussed support strategies. In the UK, USA and Australia (Stronger Families and Communities strategy), in particular, preventative initiatives have been introduced that aim to reduce the need for social service based interventions.[24] Some of these programs include:

UK

  • The UK Government’s Sure Start initiative, first established in 1997, aims to achieve better outcomes for children and their families by increasing the availability of childcare; assisting parents to find employment; improving health and emotional development for young children; and providing family support programs.
  • In addition, in 2003, the UK Government published a green paper called Every Child Matters aimed at strengthening preventative measures for vulnerable children. Following consultations, the Government published Every Child Matters: the Next Steps, and passed the Children Act 2004.

USA

  • The Healthy Families national initiative was launched in 1992 and is designed to promote positive parenting, enhance child health and development and prevent child abuse and neglect. Families choosing to participate in the program receive home visits and referrals to support services.

NZ

  • New Zealand’s Pathway to Partnership program aims to build strong, sustainable and more effective community-based services for families, children and young people in partnership with government. Through this program the government funds community groups to deliver flexible, individually tailored services to families, children and young people.   

Canada

  • Canada’s Community Action Program for Children (CAPC), Strong Families Healthy Children program, provides community based support and intervention for children at risk.

Some literature on future directions for child protection

Although there are currently eight different child protection systems provided by each of the states and territories, child protection services across Australia are essentially fairly similar and all face the same challenges. These challenges include responding to a rising demand for support, coordinating inter-agency cooperation more effectively and generally improving outcomes for children in care.[25] 

There is no quick-fix to these challenges, but over the last decade governments have begun to recognise the importance of early intervention initiatives in reducing the need for more formal social service intervention in the child protection area. There has been a growing realisation that a child protection system focussing solely on investigations cannot have much of an impact in reducing the risks of child abuse or adequately supporting families. In his 2001 article, Tomison pointed out that unless societal risk factors such as poverty, unemployment and poor education opportunities are adequately addressed, child protection strategies are unlikely to be fully effective:

In the coming decades it can be expected that the adequate provision of family support will remain a driving force in the prevention of child maltreatment. It is likely that further evidence will be produced of the social and economic benefits of early intervention and family support services, leading to a continued focus on prevention, and in particular, an expansion of family support services. [26]

Research suggests that allocation of more funds is not necessarily the answer to the problem either as most child protection agencies struggle to meet the growing demand for services despite increased funding. Tomison argues that a shift away from government to non-government support services may be a more efficient method of service delivery with, ideally, only a small number of families (those that early intervention support services were unable to help) requiring a statutory child protection response. Greater accessibility to (possibly non-government) child abuse prevention services able to provide long-term support if necessary might help to address the problem.[27] Mission Australia’s chief executive, Toby Hall, suggests that smaller independent early intervention programs can achieve exceptional results and their program models should be incorporated into government early intervention initiatives.[28]

In an article on reforming child protection, Daryl Higgins and Ilan Katz point out that the real challenge for government is to create a system that incorporates a broad ‘whole of population’ child welfare perspective; is economically efficient; and has a real and lasting impact on the wellbeing of vulnerable children. Higgins and Katz suggest that the proposed National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children offers an opportunity for Australia to become a pioneer in new ways of linking innovative early intervention initiatives with improved systems of child protection. However, they argue that a high level of funding, cooperation and collaboration will be required to make any significant differences.[29]

Appendix: Key resources

Australian

States and territories

International

Key reports

Recent child abuse inquiries

Commonwealth

QLD

TAS

SA

NSW

WA

ACT

NT

VIC


[1].    G. McIntosh and J. Phillips, ‘Who’s looking after the kids: an overview of child abuse and child protection in Australia’, E-brief, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2002, http://www.aph.gov.au/library/intguide/SP/Child_Abuse.htm, accessed on 26 August 2008.

[2].    National Child Protection Council, Preventing child abuse – a national strategy, Canberra, 1994, p. xv.

[3].    AIHW, Australia’s Welfare 1997, Canberra, 1997, p. 190.

[4].    The main data is published each year by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in Child Protection Australia. See the 2009 edition of Child Protection Australia 2007–08, http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10687, accessed on 9 February 2009. Note: The ABS Personal Safety Survey, 2006, includes figures on violence experienced by people under the age of fifteen, but this data only provides a snapshot of those surveyed in 2005, http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/056A404DAA576AE6CA2571D00080E985/$File/49060_2005%20(reissue).pdf, accessed on 6 January 2008.

[5].    AIHW, Child Protection Australia 2007–08, op cit., pp. 20–24.

[6].    ibid.

[7].    L. Bromfield and P. Holzer, A national approach for child protection: project report, AIFS, National Child Protection Clearinghouse, Melbourne, 2008, http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/cdsmac/projectreport.pdf, accessed on 11 December 2008.

[8].    A. Tomison, ‘A history of child protection: back to the future,’ Family Matters, no. 60, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Spring/Summer, 2001, http://parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au/piweb/TranslateWIPILink.aspx?Folder=jrnart&Criteria=CITATION_ID:MB566%3B, accessed on 27 August 2008.

[9].    The Commonwealth provided funding of just under $4.1 million in 2006–07 for child abuse prevention measures (FaCSIA, Annual Report 2006–07, Output Group 3.1, Support for families, p.164). Subsequent Portfolio Budget Statements and FaHCSIA’s 2007–08 Annual Report, do not include funding allocated specifically for child abuse prevention measures (child abuse prevention has been rolled into an over-arching parenting measure under Output Group 3.1, Support for Families).

[10]. For more detail on FaHCSIA services that might indirectly impact on child abuse prevention see the family assistance website, http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/family/nav.htm,   and FaHCSIA, Annual Report 2007–08, ‘Output 3.1 Support for families’ section, http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/annualreport/2008/07_1.htm, accessed on 7 January 2009.

[11]. Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, Report of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse (‘Little Children are Sacred’), 2007, http://dpl/Books/2007/NT_InquiryIntoProtectionOfAboriginalChildren.pdf, accessed on 7 January 2009. For more detail on the NTER see the FaHCSIA website, http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/inquirysaac/, accessed on 7 January 2009.

[12]. FaHCSIA, Australia’s children: safe and well—a national framework for protecting Australia’s children, a discussion paper for consultation, Commonwealth of Australia, May 2008, http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/family/child_protection_discussion_paper/ChildProtectionDiscussion%20PaperFINAL.pdf, accessed on 29 September 2008.

[13]. Office for Women’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children website, http://www.ofw.facsia.gov.au/reducing_violence/national_plan/index.htm, accessed on 8 January 2009.

[14]. For an overview of the mandatory reporting regime across Australia see Appendix 4 of the AIHW publication Child Protection Australia 2007–08, op. cit., p.93.

[15]. Burden of disease (the fear and suffering that can affect quality of life) is measured in terms of Disability Adjusted Life Years or DALYS. For more detail see P. Taylor et al., The cost of child abuse in Australia, Access Economics, 2008, pp. 132–138, http://dpl/Books/2008/AccessEc_CostofChildAbuseinAustralia.pdf, accessed on 11 December 2008.

[16].       Access Economics, op. cit., p. vi.

[17]. ibid.

[18]. Access Economics, op. cit., p. viii.

[19]. National Child Protection Clearinghouse, Child protection in Australia, Fact Sheet, AIFS, September 2008, http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/sheets/fs1/fs1.html, accessed on 14 October 2008; and Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services 2009, vol. 2, Protection and Support  Services, chapter 15, p. 15.14, http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/85424/63-chapter15-attachment.pdf, accessed on 9 February 2009.

[20]. N. Richardson, Social costs: The effects of child maltreatment, National Child Protection Clearinghouse, AIFS, Resource Sheet no. 9, 2005, http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/sheets/rs9/rs9.html, , accessed on 13 October 2008.

[21]. P. Mullen and J. Fleming, ‘Long term effects of child sexual abuse’, Issues in Child Abuse Prevention, no. 9, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Autumn 1998, http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/issues/issues9/issues9.html, accessed on 13 October 2008.

[22]. Keatsdale Pty. Ltd., Report into the cost of child abuse and neglect in Australia, Table 37: ‘Estimates of child abuse and neglect’, prepared for the Kids First Foundation, 2003, p. 108, http://dpl/Books/2003/KEATSDALE_CostsChildAbuse.pdf, accessed on 14 October 2008.

[23]. D. Higgins and I. Katz, D. Higgins and I. Katz, ‘Enhancing service systems for protecting children: promoting child wellbeing and child protection reform in Australia’, AIFS, Family Matters, issue no. 80, 2008, AIFS, pp. 47–48, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fjrnart%2F0YFS6%22, accessed on 9 February 2009.

[24]. Higgins and Katz, op cit., pp. 45–46. For more analysis of international child protection systems see G. Cameron and N. Freymond, Towards positive systems of child and family welfare: international comparisons of child protection, family service and community caring systems, University of Toronto Press, 2006.

[25]. L. Bromfield and F. Arney, ‘Developing a road map for research: identifying the priorities for a national child protection research agenda’, Child Abuse Prevention Issues, no. 28, AIFS, 2008, p. 1, http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/issues/issues28/issues28.pdf, accessed on 13 January 2009. For an analysis of the common challenges across the jurisdictions see L. Bromfield and P. Holzer, op. cit., pp. 75–80.

[26]. Tomison, op. cit., p. 55.

[27]. ibid., p. 56.

[28]. T. Hall, ‘No quick fix for rescuing kids in broken systems’, Canberra Times, 14 July 2008.

[29]. D. Higgins and I. Katz, op. cit.

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