Child abuse prevention needs national coordination

AMA President, Dr Bill Glasson, said today the appalling incidence of child abuse in Australia would continue to rise until there was a committed and coordinated national response to the problem.

Dr Glasson was commenting on the release of a Jesuit Social Services study, Community Adversity and Resilience, which used the incidence of confirmed cases of child abuse as one of 13 social indicators to rate Victorian postcodes on a general disadvantage index.

The report says social disadvantage can be addressed by building a sense of community and by increasing opportunities in education, training and employment to open up life opportunities.

"The link between disadvantaged communities and child abuse highlights the need for urgent cooperation between Commonwealth and State governments and between government departments," Dr Glasson said.

"The issues cross a number of Commonwealth portfolios including health, education and families.

"The Commonwealth must take a lead on a coordinated national response. The human and social impact of disadvantage does not fit into neat bureaucratic packages.

"No senior staff from either the Department of Health and Ageing or the Department of Family and Social Services attended the AMA's Summit on Child Abuse last month.

"The health and wellbeing of our children and their families is falling between the cracks of Government Departments.

"Each claims it's the other's responsibility so nothing gets done.

"We need a national approach to a national problem so local communities can tackle health and social problems on the ground," Dr Glasson said.

CONTACT:         Judith Tokley             (02) 6270 5471 / (0408) 824 306

Media Contacts


 02 6270 5478
 0427 209 753

Follow the AMA

‌ @AustralianMedicalAssociation