Correcting the record on Indigenous child sexual abuse21 April 2023
The Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) supports calls from SNAICC and the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner for an evidence-based discussion around the sexual abuse of First Nations children in Australia’s child protection systems.
Child sexual exploitation is a serious and unacceptable issue, but any discussion that raises concerns or solutions must be based on evidence and facts.
Data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) publicly reports on our child protection systems. It shows that child sexual abuse is not a First Nations issue - it seriously affects children from all backgrounds, cultures and religions in all communities across the country. Sadly, for all Australian children the rates of child sexual abuse have remained largely unchanged over the past five years, and we must all do more to keep all children safe.
Substantiated cases of neglect are the primary reason for involvement with the child protection system. The data shows that neglect is more likely to occur in low socio-economic environments, where there are higher rates of poverty, greater disengagement from education, and limited access to critical services. These are issues that must be addressed at a national and state level in order to protect and safeguard children.
One case of child sexual abuse is one too many, and all levels of government must take action to do more to protect children and young people.
Australians must continue the conversation about child sexual abuse and exploitation if we are serious about effecting systemic change to combat it. But every Australian participating in these conversations, be they a commentator, decision-maker, community leader or community member, has a responsibility to speak truthfully and accurately. Only then will Australians be able to make informed and considered decisions about the communities in which they live.
Anyone who suspects a child has been abused or exploited is urged to report it to police.
The AIHW report can be found here.
For media information contact:
Kirstine O’Donnell | Queensland Family and Child Commission
Phone: 0404 971 164