The number of substantiated child protection cases rose more than 3,000 in the last year, according to preliminary figures released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Child protection cases include instances where children have been abused, neglected or harmed.
In 2001-02 there were 30,473 substantiated child protection cases-an increase of more than 3,106 on the 27,367 cases in 2000-01. The rise was largely due to increases in New South Wales and Queensland.
Child Protection Australia 2001-02: First national results shows almost 138,000 allegations of child abuse and neglect or harm were notified to State and Territory community services departments in Australia during 2001-02.
There was also an increase in the number of children on care and protection orders.
Co-author of the report, Ms Helen Johnstone, said 20,557 children were on care or protection orders in June 2002 compared with 15,718 children in 1997.
'These figures seem to suggest there are a growing numbers of children whose families are considered to be unable to provide adequate care or protection for them.'
Overall, Indigenous children were over-represented in the child protection system.
'The rate of Indigenous children on care and protection orders was nearly six times the rate for other Australian children,' Ms Johnstone said.