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Safety For Women
Australian Politicians/ Contacts
Protecting The Children
CHILD abuse complaints have skyrocketed across
NSW with an average of 500 calls a day being made
to a State Government emergency helpline.
Figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal that
since 1996 there has been a 461 per cent increase in the
number of reported child protection complaints, including
sexual and physical abuse.
Department of Community Services Helpline workers
are being swamped with calls from police, health workers
and the public with reports of child abuse or neglect.
Of the cases reported, it was found 13,000 children in
the past year had been subjected to actual physical or
The alarming rise in complaints comes after a man was
recently charged with the murder and sexual assault
of a three-year-old boy from the innerwest who was allegedly
electrocuted and sexually abused in 2003. The alleged attacker
is believed to be a friend of the child's mother.
A second man suspected of being
involved has not been charged.
Community Services Minister Reba Meagher
said the figures were disturbing and
reflected the importance of mandatory reporting.
"Sadly these disturbing figures underpin our commitment to,
and the need for, early intervention," Ms Meagher said.
"Those who work with children have a legal obligation
to report concerns about child abuse.
"Mandatory reporting means that those who work directly
or indirectly with children have a legal obligation to
report concerns about children who may be neglected or abused."
Ms Meagher congratulated those members of the
community who were acting on their concerns.
The figures show that last year there were more
than 185,000 reports on child protection concerns.
Part of the rise is being attributed to the
mandatory reporting brought in in 2000 under
which police, teachers, health workers or anyone
involved with children has a legal duty to report suspected abuse or neglect.
However, there has been a significant rise in community reports.
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