Child abuse is never an issue that can be overlooked, which is why all incidences must be reported immediately for the sake of the young victim suffering to ensure immediate action is taken and the maximum protection can be achieved.
In Australia all state and territory governments have the statutory responsibility for protecting all children from child abuse and neglect. In Queensland the key legislation which covers the area of child abuse is the Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD) which is an act that outlines the rights and provides protection for children. The legislation only covers the jurisdiction of the state of Queensland.
Child abuse can be in different forms such ...view middle of the document...
It is often believed that child abuse is mainly physical, however children who are constantly ignored, shamed, terrorized or humiliated suffer at least as much as victims of physical abuse, if not more. In today’s society it is hard to separate between reasonable discipline and crucial act of abuse.
2.1 The legal principle applied to child abuse
The legal principle applied to child abuse in Queensland is the Child Protection Act 1999 Qld which contains legislations that are established to ensure that every child has the right to have a healthy upbringing and be protected. The law requires serious and considered response towards child abuse and neglect from all governments at all levels. The child protection act also states that the welfare and best interest in the child is a priority.
2.2 Rights of the child
The stakeholders involved in child abuse are obviously the children, families and any professionals who have contact with the child.
A child is defined as an individual under the age of 18 years (Child Protection Act: S8). The Child Protection Act Section 9 has defined harm as "Harm, to a child, is any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing". The purpose of the Child Protection Act is to ensure that the welfare and interests of the child are held to the highest regard and that every child has the right to be protected from harm (Child Protection Act: S5).
Child abuse has become such a widespread issue internationally the United Nations have stepped in with a document which outlines the rights of children across the world, titled the Declarations of the rights of the child.
One of the key statements of the act is that "The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration." (UN: Declarations of the Rights of the Child)
2.3 Statistics of Child Abuse in Australia
252,962 notifications of child abuse were made to local authorities, between 2011 and 2012. This equals 34 notifications per1000 Australian children (AIFS). This is a 6.6% increase from the 2010-2011 year, and a 119% increase from 2001-2002. It is possible that public awareness has contributed to this increase; that more people are reporting child abuse than before, however it is more likely that the rates of child abuse have increased. The number of children who had been reported as suspected victims of child abuse is 8% lower than it was 6 years ago. Unfortunately, the number of reports made has still increased. This displays that there are less children being abused, but children are being reported as suspected victims many times before anything is done. This should...