The Australian Child Maltreatment Study was released this week, highlighting critical information for our sector. Researchers are suggesting this report could be a catalyst for a major policy shift that could improve health, gender equality and social justice outcomes. It identifies that child maltreatment is endemic in Australia with 62% of Australians aged over 16 years experiencing childhood maltreatment.
Some key take outs:
- Youth who experienced child maltreatment are 2.9x more likely to have a mental disorder including major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol use disorder and port traumatic stress disorder.
- Child maltreatment is a gendered problem, disproportionately affecting girls, with girls being more likely to experience multi-type maltreatment.
- Young people are more likely than in former times to experience emotional abuse and exposure to domestic and family violence. However, young people reported lower rates of physical abuse. While still unacceptably high, it is understood that this decline is related to sustained public health and policy efforts reinforcing the importance and power of these efforts to improve health and wellbeing outcomes in Australia.
We’d encourage everyone in the sector to review the resources available found here.