Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New report estimates the cost of child abuse at $10 billion

The likely cost of child abuse to the community may be more than $10 billion, according to a new report released today, The cost of child abuse in Australia.

The report authors, Dr Joe Tucci, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, Professor Chris Goddard from Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia at Monash University, and Access Economics based this figure on an estimate of more than 170,000 children who are abused, neglected or witness family violence.

Children are the most vulnerable people in our community and too many are being damaged by child abuse.

The report draws on the evidence of child abuse from various sources, including overseas experience, and is an important contribution to our collective understanding of child abuse in Australia.

The authors considered a range of costs including paying the salaries of the thousands of doctors, nurses, police officers, social workers, judges, probation officers, teachers and others who protect and respond to children identified as being abused and neglected.

These costs are on top of reimbursing the thousands of foster carers around the country, and the expense of managing these complex systems.

The World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse on 19 November is an important opportunity to recognise that child neglect takes a terrible toll on Australian children.

Working closely with the State and Territory Governments, the Government is providing Commonwealth leadership in developing a National Child Protection Framework to tackle child abuse and neglect.

In May, the Government released a discussion paper, Australia’s children: safe and well, which includes a stronger prevention focus, better collaboration between services and improving responses for children in care and young people leaving care.

The Australian Government is committed to a child-centred approach to family policy.

Raising community awareness is a crucial element of our approach-and today the Australian Childhood Foundation is launching a new campaign, Stop Child Abuse Now.

Various media organisations are supporting the campaign, and it will feature TV, print and radio advertising with a voice over by Australian actor Eric Bana-the patron of the Australian Childhood Foundation.