Children in substantiated cases of abuse or neglect

In 2018–19 there were 47,500 children with substantiated cases of abuse or neglect. This was a rate of 9 per 1,000 children.


Age is one of the factors that child protection workers consider when processing a notification, determining the type of response and whether a notification will be substantiated.

Children aged under 1 were most likely to be the subjects of substantiations (16 per 1,000 children), while those aged 15–17 were least likely (5 per 1,000).

Type of substantiated abuse/neglect

Emotional abuse was the most common substantiated abuse type (54%), followed by neglect (21%), physical abuse (15%) and sexual abuse (10%). Sexual abuse was more common among girls, while neglect and physical abuse were more common among boys. Emotional abuse was similar for both genders (Figure 6).

Remoteness and Socioeconomic areas

Overall, children from Very remote areas were almost 3 times as likely as those from Major Cities to be the subject of a substantiation (20 per 1,000 children compared with 7 per 1,000 children) (Figure 7).

Of the children who were the subjects of substantiations in 2018–19, 36% were from the lowest socioeconomic areas. Indigenous children were more likely to be from the lowest socioeconomic areas (43%) compared with non–Indigenous children (33%) (Figure 8).

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