Terrible child protection statistics: Finocchiaro

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – Questions from the Territory Opposition in Estimates revealed terrible statistics in relation to child protection notifications and caseloads for front line staff, reinforcing the magnitude of the child protection crisis in the Northern Territory.

 

In response to my questions the Estimates Hearings were told, for the period of July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, there had been a shocking 41 substantiated cases of sexual exploitation of children, approximately one reported case a week.

 

Of the 18,442 unsubstantiated child protection notifications made in that period 9,865 children were the subject of the following notifications: 1,230 of sexual exploitation; 3,680 of physical abuse; 5,020 of emotional abuse and 8,512 of neglect.

 

Of the 9,865 children, 3,983 were subject to multiple notifications.

 

These statistics painted a very sad picture of some of the Territory’s most vulnerable. What we must not lose sight of, is that these are not simply numbers, but Territory children who are suffering.

 

The safety and protection of children must be at the centre of all decision making and a clear priority must be made to ensure that all frontline services and child protection staff are given the training, equipment and resources to curb these horrible statistics.

 

“We were advised that 12 staff have more than 80 cases to manage each.

 

I am also concerned to hear that out of approximately 1000 children in the care of the CEO of Territory Families, 860 are school aged and the CEO has no way of knowing if the children are attending or not due to deficiencies in IT infrastructure.

 

What is crystal clear is that the Territory’s child protection crisis is still unfolding, and these notification figures and caseload statistics reinforce the need for swift reform.

 

Lia Finocchiaro

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

 

 

 

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