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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 1759 ..

Database of Alleged Child Abusers

(Question No. 167)

Mr Stanhope

asked the Minister for Education, upon notice, on 4 May 1999:

In relation to the database of alleged child abusers, is it the case that the

database has been kept by the Department since 1990, if so

1 . What is the purpose of the database?

2. On whose authority was the database created?

3. How large is the database and is it growing as reported, at a rate of 500 names a year?

4. Do any guidelines or protocols apply to the operation of the database and if so will you table them?"

Mr Stefaniak

: The answer to Mr Stanhope's question is:

1. All States and Territories keep Child Protection Client Information Systems. A Client Information System has been maintained in the ACT since the Children's Services Act was gazetted in 1986.

The purpose of the system is to hold information so that risks to particular children can be appraised and protective action taken where necessary.

In each case the name and address of the child, the details of the allegations and, if there is reasonable cause to believe the allegations are true, the person believed responsible, are entered onto a central client information system.

2. Section 104 of the Children's Services Act 1986 requires the Director of Family Services to keep a record of each notification made to her about the suspected abuse and/or neglect of children.

3. In 1997-98, 359 children in the ACT were subject to notifications of suspected abuse and/ or neglect where there was reasonable cause to believe the allegations were true. This extrapolates to 4.7 children per thousand children. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data).

The majority of these notifications in the ACT during 1997-98 were about physical abuse, (176 notifications). The smallest number of notifications, (47), pertain to alleged sexual abuse.

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