4.1 Child protection resubstantiations

Resubstantiation rates are a broad indicator of the recurrence of abuse, neglect or harm to children.

Resubstantiation data capture children who were the subject of a substantiation in a financial year, and who were then subsequently the subject of a further substantiation within the following 3 or 12 months. The year reported relates to the year of the original substantiation.

Cases of resubstantiation do not necessarily imply that child protection agencies have failed to protect children from repeated abuse. The resubstantiation rate is affected by the finalisation of investigations and also by factors beyond the control of the child protection system, such as changes in family situations (for example, illness, pregnancy or unemployment), which may place children in danger of being re-abused or neglected.

For all indicator displays, where all years of data are comparable over time an ‘All’ category will be provided as an option in the ‘Year’ drop down display. If only a selection of specific years are comparable, these years (e.g. 2017 to 2019) will be provided as an option under ‘Year’ and ‘All’ will not be an option. See the footnotes for this indicator in the supplementary tables hyperlink below for further information.

See the supplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data. 

Indicator technical specifications

The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.

National Framework Indicator 4.1 Child protection resubstantiations: Rate of children aged 0-17 years who were the subject of a child protection resubstantiation in a given year
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of children aged 0-17 years who were the subject of a substantiation in the reference year, and who were the subject of a resubstantiation within 90 days or 365 days AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection
Denominator Number of children aged 0-17 years who were the subject of a substantiation in the reference year AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection

Explanatory notes

Children who were the subject of a resubstantiation are those who were the subject of a substantiation during the reference period, regardless of the date of notification, who were also the subject of at least one subsequent notification within the periods specified (90 days and 365 days) that is subsequently substantiated.

Due to the periods specified (90 days and 365 days), two years of data are required to identify resubstantiations, and the reference year refers to the year of the original substantiation. As such, the most recent available data for this indicator will be a year behind other measures of substantiations.

Resubstantiation data should be interpreted with caution, as cases of resubstantiation do not necessarily imply that child protection agencies have failed to protect children from repeated abuse. The resubstantiation rate is affected by the finalisation of investigations, and also by factors beyond the control of the child protection system, such as changes in family situations (for example, illness, pregnancy or unemployment), which may place children in danger of being re-abused or neglected.

A resubstantiation does not necessarily refer to the same source or risk as the original substantiation.

The data reported to the AIHW on child protection substantiations reflects departmental activity. Administrative data captures incidence of substantiations of harm, or risk of harm, rather than prevalence of abuse and neglect.

See the supplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.