Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

National Child Protection Week

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony today joined with the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) to officially launch National Child Protection Week 2002.

“I congratulate NAPCAN for their work in the fight against child abuse and neglect and their team of dedicated volunteers who promote the effective care and protection of Australia’s children.

“All Australians should be shocked at the extent of child abuse and neglect in our community. Latest figures show:

  • There were 115,000 reported cases of child abuse in Australia last year.
  • That means one child is reported abused or neglected every five minutes in Australia.
  • The rate of indigenous children on care and protection orders was over six times that for other Australian children.
  • The number of reports of child abuse and neglect has increased by more than 23,000 in the six years to 2001.

“These trends simply can not be allowed to continue.

“National Child Protection Week’s theme for this year, A child with special needs is a child like any other, places emphasis on a particularly challenging area.
“We have no idea how many children with a disability and special needs are abused or neglected each year. We do know that in America, the rate is about 3.4 times higher,” Mr Anthony said.

NAPCAN President, John Heslop, said children and young people in our society are this country’s future and it is critical for all of us to try and make sure that they are given a safe environment in which to grow and mature.

“While all our children are special, some of them have extra needs, this year NAPCAN will focus this week’s attention on those children who have special needs and to remind people that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep all children safe,” Mr Heslop said.

“Australia faces a real challenge in reducing child abuse and neglect. However, it is a challenge that can not be met by government alone. The whole community has to take responsibility for the safety of our children,” Mr Anthony said.