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If you believe a child is in immediate danger or in a life-threatening situation call 000.

If you wish to report a child protection matter, contact the department responsible for child protection in your state or territory.

Child protection in Australia

In Australia, statutory child protection is the responsibility of state and territory governments. Departments responsible for child protection provide assistance to vulnerable children who are suspected of being abused, neglected or harmed, or whose parents are unable to provide adequate care or protection.

Contacts made to these departments regarding allegations of child abuse or neglect, child maltreatment or harm to a child are called 'notifications'. Notifications are assessed to determine the level of intervention required (if any). The aim of an investigation is to obtain more detailed information and to determine whether the notification is 'substantiated' or 'not substantiated'. A substantiation indicates there is sufficient reason to believe that a child has been, is being, or is likely to be, abused, neglected or otherwise harmed.

The relevant department will attempt to ensure the safety of the child through an appropriate level of continued involvement. This may include placing the child on a care and protection order and/or into out-of-home care. The provision of support services to the child and family may also be appropriate.

For more information on the processes of child protection across Australia refer to the latest Child protection Australia 2015–16 report.

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children Data portal icon 20px PNGdynamic data display presents the latest data on a range of indicators.

Child protection quick facts 2015–16



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Indigenous over-representation

Indigenous children were 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to have received child protection services.


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Increased rates

Rates for children in substantiations, on care and protection orders, and in out-of-home care increased over the period 2011–12 to 2015–16.


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Emotional abuse

was the most common type of abuse substantiated.


graphic shows rates in lower socioeconomic status areas are greater than in higher socioeconomic status areas

Economic disadvantage

Children from areas of lower socioeconomic status were more likely to be the subjects of substantiations.


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Remoteness

Children from Very remote areas were 4 times as likely as those from Major cities to be the subject of a substantiation.


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Half

of children in relative/kinship placements (48%) were living with their grandparents.


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Half

of foster care households (52%) had multiple children placed.