Page 1304 - Week 04 - Thursday, 21 March 2013

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Children and young people—abuse

Ms Gallagher (in reply to a supplementary question by Mr Smyth on Wednesday, 13 February 2013): As this question was asked in the context of discussion of the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it is assumed that it relates to sexual abuse of children. The definition being used by the Royal Commission is persons up to the age of 18 years.

For completeness, I also undertook to provide data from self-government.

The following data sources will provide information in relation to the Member’s question, noting however that this data relates to reports of abuse.

• The Report on Government Services (ROGS) has data on the proportion of children in out-of-home care who were the subject of a substantiation and the person responsible was living in the household. The ACT has provided data for this measure since the 1997 ROGS.

• The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare publication, ‘Child Protection Australia 2010 -2011’ is the fifteenth annual report on child protection. It includes data on children in out of home care and further data on substantiation of a notification.

• The Australian Bureau of Statistics released ‘Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia 2011’ (Catalogue No. 4510.0). It has data on sexual assaults disaggregated by age and relationship of offender to victim.

• The ACT Criminal Justice Statistical Profile includes the number of sexual assaults and related offences reported and cleared. It is a historical series of crime data tabled quarterly in the Legislative Assembly. The Justice and Community Safety Directorate have reports back to March 2006 available on their website. This data is not published by age.

• ACT Policing has provided the following administrative data on reported sexual offences for victims under 18 years. The data does not identify the institutional context. This means it is not limited to government institutions or services. The data is from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2012. Data for the preceding period is not available. The number of sexual offences reported to ACT Policing in this time frame was 3,105.

It is not possible to provide data on occurrence of abuse if it is not reported. The work of the Royal Commission will shed more light on this issue.

The ACT Government supports the Royal Commission’s investigation of systemic failures by institutions in relation to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse. The Commission will be making recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutionalised care.

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