Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child safety

Posted on: 29 August, 2011
Issue: Vol 11 No 3, July 2011 – September 2011
Related to Child protection Injury Hospitalisation Infants and young children

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child safety
Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

This report provides information on the safety of Indigenous children across Australia. It covers key areas such as injury and violence, protection and justice. Findings from the report suggest that Indigenous children experience a higher rate of injury than do non-Indigenous children. Indigenous children are:

  • 5 times as likely to experience a hospital separation for assault
  • 8 times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse or neglect
  • 15 times as likely to be under juvenile justice supervision.

Indigenous children are also found to have poorer outcomes in the area of child safety, including:

  • higher rates of hospitalisations due to injury
  • higher rates of injury mortality
  • more frequently come into contact with child protection and juvenile justice systems.

It was reported in the key areas of ‘Injury and violence’ that although the causes of injury hospital separation were found to be the same among Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, Indigenous children were found to have higher rates of injury hospital separation than did non-Indigenous children, at a rate of 1.3 times higher. Rates of assault hospital separation for Indigenous children were over five times the rates for non-Indigenous children. External causes of injury were responsible for 25% of all deaths among Indigenous children aged 0-17 years, the death rates among this population group were three times higher than the rates among the non-Indigenous population.

Child abuse and neglect were higher among Indigenous children than among non-Indigenous children, with Indigenous children found to be:

  • 8 times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse or neglect
  • 9 times as likely to be on a child protection care and protection order
  • 10 times as likely to be living in out-of-home care
  • most likely to experience neglect in substantiated cases.

The report also found that Indigenous children were more likely to have had contact with the juvenile justice system, they were:

  • 15 times as likely to be under juvenile justice supervision
  • 24 times as likely to be detained
  • entered their first period of juvenile justice supervision at a younger age
  • spent on average 5 days longer in un-sentenced detention.

The report refers to factors such as family and community security, as well as the accessibility of appropriate support systems; and highlights areas of opportunity for further improvements towards Indigenous child health and wellbeing.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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