Child maltreatment and criminal justice system involvement in Australia: Findings from a national survey

Prison bars

Few studies have examined associations between child maltreatment and criminal justice system involvement using large nationally representative samples and comprehensive measures of self‑reported maltreatment. This study analyses nationally representative data from the Australian Child Maltreatment Study, which surveyed 8,500 Australians to obtain self-reported data on all five child maltreatment types (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic violence) and criminal justice system involvement. We examine associations between self-reported child maltreatment, and chronic multi-type maltreatment, and arrests, convictions and imprisonment. Results show moderate associations between child maltreatment and arrests and convictions, and between maltreatment and imprisonment among men. Stronger associations were found for those experiencing three or more types of maltreatment.


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