Infographic of Child Protection Australia 2013–14

Save the Children

Australian Childhood Fountadion — HELP NOW

WARNING! Some details on this page may be distressing or triggering for some people. Whilst care is taken not to include graphic details unnecessarily, we also wish to provide real information and stories. Please exercise caution whilst reading this column if you feel you may feel distressed.

Child Abuse Definition:

Occurs when somebody or someone threatens the development, security and survival of a child.

Children all around the world are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Child abuse is a rising issue with more children becoming victims and failing to find the strength or resources to find help. The world and in particular, our home Australia needs to act now and make a change to save the children who fall victim to this unfortunate event.

The most recent national figures of child abuse indicate that during 2012–13, there were around 184,216 Australian children suspected of being harmed or at risk of harm from abuse and/or neglect — Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)

Social stigma and silence make it difficult to track the real amount of children suffering, but if we as a nation can imbed a national movement or strategy to help children open up and seek help without feeling as though they may get into trouble by doing so it will make a significant change.

Percentage breakdown of primary substantiated harm types in Australia in 2012–13

There are different types of abuse; physical, emotional, and sexual. There is also neglect which can also be categorised under abuse.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) emotional abuse is most common in Australia with a total percentage of 38%.

True Stories of Child Abuse and the effects it holds on their lives

Emma’s Story

Emma Foster, a young ASCA member died early in 2008, as a result of the impact of child abuse. She and her sister, Katie had been abused by their parish priest. Emma struggled for years to deal with the repercussions of her abuse, battling anorexia, depression, self-harm and drug abuse. She died in her bedroom, alone at the age of 26, as the result of an overdose of medication. Her sister, Katie had already received a life sentence. Struck down by a car while intoxicated from the alcohol she was using to numb her pain, Katie was left severely physically and intellectually disabled, and requires 24 hour care. Anthony and Christine Foster, the parents of Emma, Katie and a third sister, Aimee continue to tell their story in the hope that other families will not have to deal with the tragic impact of childhood trauma. Read more about Emma and Katie’s story here.

More stories about Child Abuse here

The types of abuse are Physical, Emotional and Sexual.

Physical Abuse occurs when a child suffers or is likey to suffer significant harm from an injury inflicted by a child’s parent or caregiver. The injury may be inflicted intentionally or may be the inadvertent consequence of physical punishment or physically aggressive treatment of a child. The injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures.

Emotional Abuse occurs when a child’s parent or caregiver repeatedly rejects the child or uses threats to frighten the child. This may involve name calling, put downs or continual coldness from the parent or caregiver, to the extent that it significantly damages the child’s physical, social, intellectual or emotional development.

Sexual Abuse occurs when a person uses power or authority over a child to involve the child in sexual activity and the child’s parent or caregiver has not protected the child. Physical force is sometimes involved. Child sexual abuse involves a wide range of sexual activity. It includes fondling of the child’s genitals, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or other object, or exposure of the child to pornography.

Another form of child abuse is neglect. Neglect is the failure to provide the child with the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, medical attention or supervision, to the extent that the child’s health and development is, or is likely to be, significantly harmed.

As stated by the Victorian government, AUS,-families-and-young-people/child-protection/about-child-abuse/what-is-child-abuse

There are many reasons people abuse children. They include:

→ To have a sense of power and feeling powerful

→ They are repeating patterns they may have experienced as children

→ They lack qualities of care, love, guilt and compassion

→ They believe it’s okay to abuse the child (it is definitely not)

How can abuse and neglect be recognised ?

Physical abuse can be recognised by both physical and behavioural Physcial indicators like bruises, burns, sprains, dislocations, bites, cuts. Fractured bones, especially in an infant where a fracture is unlikely to occur accidentally. Poisoning and internal injuries.

Possible behavioural indicators include showing wariness or distrust of adults, wearing long sleeved clothes on hot days (to hide bruising or other injury), demonstrating fear of parents and of going home, becoming fearful when other children cry or shout, being excessively friendly to strangers, being very passive and compliant.

Sexual abuse is not usually identified through physical indicators. Often the first sign is when a child tells someone they trust that they have been sexually abused. However the presence of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, or vaginal or anal bleeding or discharge may indicate sexual abuse. One or more of these behavioural indicators may be present: child telling someone that sexual abuse has occurred, complaining of headaches or stomach pains, experiencing problems with schoolwork, displaying sexual behaviour or knowledge which is unusual for the child’s age, showing behaviour such as frequent rocking, sucking and biting, experiencing difficulties in sleeping, having difficulties in relating to adults and peers.

There are few physical indicators, although emotional abuse may cause delays in emotional, mental, or even physical development. Possible behavioural indicators include: displaying low self esteem, tending to be withdrawn, passive, tearful, displaying aggressive or demanding behaviour, being highly anxious, showing delayed speech, acting like a much younger child, eg. soiling, wetting pants, displaying difficulties in relating to adults and peers.

Neglect can be indicated by both physical and behavioural indicators. Physical indicators include: frequent hunger, malnutrition, poor hygiene, inappropriate clothing, eg. Summer clothes in winter, left unsupervised for long periods, medical needs not attended to, abandoned by parents.

Possible behavioural indicators include: stealing food, staying at school outside school hours, often being tired, falling asleep in class, abusing alcohol or drugs, displaying aggressive behaviour, not getting on well with peers.

Child abuse is a pressing issue which must be dealt with immeditatly because children face these issues everyday and are stuck in this world that they can not escape from. They need our help and educating yourself and others of the signs to look out for will save the childs life.



There are things you can do to deal with child abuse and its effects. They include:

  • Talking to someone you trust about it. This could be a friend or family member. It could also be a police officer, doctor, counseller, psychologist, psychiatrist, trusted teacher, other family support or health worker.
  • Remembering it’s not your fault. If you look at kids who were your age when it happened, you can start to understand how defenceless you were.
  • Reading and learning about child abuse and its effects.
  • Talking to other people who went through the same thing. A support group can be a good place to find them.
  • Expressing yourself through writing, music, talking, art or sport.

If you are a victim of child abuse please do not hesitate to get HELP. There are many services provided in Australia to help support you. WE CARE .See details below for help services.