Indicators of child protection rates include total notifications, investigations and substantiations by child protection departments. These rates vary across Australian jurisdictions, however rates have generally increased over the past five years (AIFS 2008). Total national investigations increased from 66,265 (14.7 per 1,000 children aged under 18 years) in 2000–01 to 137,829 (30.4 per 1,000 children) in 2005–06. This represents an increase of approximately 108 percent. The most substantial increases in the rate of investigations occurred in Tasmania (up 1,288%), the ACT (up 402%) and New South Wales (up 205%). By contrast, Victoria has steadily declined since 2000–01 (down 10%). Between 2004–05 and 2005–06, South Australia recorded a 23 percent decline in investigations and Queensland recorded a decline in investigations of six percent. These declines have been attributed to more stringent thresholds for recording a notification, resulting in fewer subsequent investigations. The decline in investigations for Victoria has been attributed to the reshaping of the Victorian child and family welfare system.
The rate of total investigations in each state and territory during the period 2000–01 to 2005–06
Note: New South Wales implemented a new information recording system during the period 2003–04, and was unable to extract data for investigations in this reporting period
Rate = Rate per 1,000 children
Source: AIFS 2008
Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) 2008. National Child Protection and Support Services comparability of child protection data — project report. Melbourne: National Child Protection Clearinghouse. http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/reports/ncpass/ncpass.pdf