Report on Child Protection in Australia

Report on Child Protection in Australia

What the report is about

The report on Child Protection in Australia explores the situation in the 2016 – 2017 time period. This report is the 21st edition of this comprehensive report.

It includes detailed statistical information about Australian state and territory child protection and support services and identifies some of the shared characteristics of children who are receiving child protection services.

Child protection is a responsibility of each state and territory for the children in their areas. The role of statutory child protection bodies is to assist vulnerable children who have harmed or are at risk of harm due to abuse, neglect or other cause of harm or who’s parents are no longer able to provide adequate care or protection for them.

Key Findings

 There are a number of key findings that will be of interest to anyone who is concerned about the well being of young people in our country.

Of these 379,459 notifications 177,056 (47%) were assessed as requiring further investigation while the rest were dealt with by other means such as referral to a support service. 

This data is not consistent around Australia due to the way different jurisdictions collect and record data and treat notifications due to different state and territory legislation and organisations.

40% of the notifications came from either police (21%) or schools (19%)

In 2016 – 2017 168,352 children had an investigation, care and protection order and/or were placed in out of home care.

This is equal to 1 in every 32 children in Australia.

74% of these children were repeat clients who had come to the attention of child protection more than once.

These numbers are not reports. They relate only to the number of reported concerns that result in a child protection agency recording a Child Protection Notification.

In 2016 – 2017 49,160 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children received child protection services, a rate of 164.3 per 1,000 children, compared with 22.3 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous children.

Indigenous children were 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to have received child protection services.

The rate of increase in the number of children per 1,000 has increased for all children since the 2012-13 benchmark year. The increase was from 18.5 to 22.3 for non-indigenous children and 126.9 to 164.9 per 1,000 for indigenous children.

The report identifies some of the research into why this is likely to be the case.

It appears that children in Very Remote areas are 4 times as likely as those in Major Cities to be the subject of a substantiation.

Substantiation means that there is considered to be sufficient reason, after an investigation, to believe that the child has been or is likely to be abused, neglected or harmed.

There has been a continued increase in rates of interventions. The report compares rates of key interventions between 2012 – 2013 and 2016 – 2017.

  • There was an increase in the rate of reports that were substantiated from 8.2 to 9.9 per 1,000
  • There was an increase in the number of children on Care and Protection Orders from 8.2 to 9.9 per 1,000
  • There was an increase in out-of-home care from 7.7 to 8.7 per 1,000

In 2016-2107 the national recurrent expenditure on child protection and out-of-home care services were $4.3 billion, a real increase of 8% from 2015 – 2016.

 Of the substantiated reports of abuse or neglect reported a “primary” or most severe in the sort term type of abuse or neglect was recorded.

Nationally, emotional abuse was the most common primary type of abuse or neglect substantiated for children (48%), followed by neglect (24%), physical abuse (16%), and sexual abuse (12%). However, there was some variation between jurisdictions (Figure 3.3).


 Of the substantiated reports of abuse or neglect socio-economics appears to play a role. Read the report


About 32,600 children have been in out of home care for 2 years or more.

62% were wards of the state with 24% living with a carer who had long term legal responsibility for them.

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Preventative Early Intervention Strategies

As mediators we are most interested in what the report says about early intervention. The best way to manage child protection is to remove the risks to them by supporting families to be functional and supportive of their children.

The report identifies that in August 2017 the Community Services Ministers from the federal, state and territory governments agreed on two key focus areas.

  1.  To provide stability for children in child protection
  2. To ensure that the right services are available to prevent children entering child protection.

We hope that means work towards eliminating the need for child protection although the report identifies only initiatives that focus on strategies to make out of home care more stable. For example removing legal rights from parents and placing them with the state or long term care givers.

Raw Data on Children Receiving Child Protection Services

The report has much more detailed information and explantation of what the categories mean and how they are counted.

See the report for more information about the data.

Career opportunities

There are a range of career opportunities open to qualified mediators. They approach or approaches you take will depend on your personal goals, experience and attitude to work.

Option One: Working for someone else

There are a number of different services that employ people how need dispute resolution qualifications.

  • Family Dispute Resolution Services – they will require you to have or be completing qualifications to become FDR Accredited.
  • Community Mediation Service – these may offer FDR or more general mediation requiring NMAS Accreditation
  • Ombudsman services – require people with dispute resolution skills
  • Court mediation services – require NMAS Accredited Mediators
  • Private mediation business – may employ or contract mediators 
  • Mediator / dispute resolution role – larger businesses have dispute resolution roles within a business or organisation. These may be dedicated roles or as part of another role.
  • Employee Assistance Programs – many employee assistance programs now offer dispute resolution as well as counselling.

Option Two: Working for yourself

  • Contracting to one of the types of organisations above
  • Running your own Family Dispute Resolution Practice
  • Working with others to run a FDR or Mediation business
  • Providing contract mediation services to organisations
  • Dispute resolution consulting and training

Interact Support

Interact Support was established by a group of Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners and Family Lawyers including Mediation Institute Directors Joanne Law and Paul Kenna. It’s mission is to prevent family violence by helping people who have issues and disputes to resolve them before they escalate into violence.

The main services it provides are information (Interact Family Law Options Consultations), family dispute resolution by video mediation or referral to independent FDRP’s and legal advice and strategy sessions by referral to family lawyers. The not-for-profit provides internship opportunities for Mediation Institute students and the potential for ongoing contract work depending on demand.

Work Placement

Mediation Institute encourages students to make use of work placement opportunities to establish networks, gain experience and prepare a pathway to paid employment / work opportunities as a mediator.

Jobs Directory

Mediation Institute scans the job ads for mediation related jobs as well as posts information about panels and other opportunities for dispute resolution practitioners for the benefit of members.

You can find the Job’s Board Archive under the News and Event’s Menu on any page on the website. The expired jobs there will give an indication of some to the roles available.

CHC81115 Core Units to become a family dispute resolution practitioner

CHC81115 Core Units to become a family dispute resolution practitioner

What are CHC81115 Core Units?

The CHC81115 Core Units are the six (6) units of competence you must have to apply to become a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.

The CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution qualification has ten units of competence.

If you have an undergraduate degree in law, social work or psychology or are willing to commit to maintain your NMAS Accreditation as a mediator at all times you can complete only the six core units from the qualification.  Review the requirements on the Attorney Generals website.

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Do I still get a Graduate Diploma Certificate?

No. Those seeking the minimum necessary training required to apply to become a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner can study the “core units” only from the CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution. When you have completed the units you will get what is called a “statement of attainment” for the six units.

The 6 Core units are:

  1. CHCFAM001 – Operate in a family law environment
  2. CHCDFV008 – Manage responses to domestic and family violence in family work
  3. CHCDSP001 – Facilitate dispute resolution in the family law context
  4. CHCDSP002 – Adhere to ethical standards in family dispute resolution
  5. CHCDSP003 – Support the safety of vulnerable parties in dispute resolution
  6. CHCFAM002 – Work with a child-focused approach
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Can I get the full qualification later?

Yes. You may go on to complete the full qualification by completing four more units from this qualification at a later date.

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