• 53,296 cases of child abuse and neglect were reported  to the State and Territory welfare departments during the period 1July 1991 to 30 June 1992-an increase of 7% over 1990-91. Of these, the assessment  of 49,142 cases were finalised. There were 45,974 children involved in reported  cases in 1991-92-a rate of 10.7 per 1,000 children.
  • 21,371 cases of child abuse and neglect were substantiated (43% of finalised cases). In a further  2,718 cases (6%), the occurrence of abuse.or neglect was not substantiated, but the child was assessed as being at risk. There were 23,409 cases (48%) in which no abuse or neglect was found, and a further 1,644 cases (3%) where no action was possible. However, the proportion of cases substantiated is underestimated and the proportion of cases not substantiated is overestimated, as some substantiated cases in Victoria where the harm was minimal and where there was no continued  risk to the child were not included in the 'Substantiated' category. See page 6 for further information.
  • 17,723 children were involved in the substantiated cases and a further 2,242 children were assessed as being at risk. Combined, this represents a rate of 4.6 per 1,000 children aged 0-16 years.
  • The highest rates of substantiated abuse and neglect occurred with children aged 13 and 14 years (5.1and 5.2 children per 1,000 respectively), followed by children aged under one year (4.6) and those aged 3 years of age (4.5). Rates of substantiated sexual abuse increased with age to ages 14 and 15, whereas rates of substantiated emotional abuse and neglect decreased  with age, with the highest rate for those aged under one year.
  • Girls were the subjects in the majority (75%) of sexual abuse cases; both sexes were the subjects in a nearly equal number  of cases of neglect, physical abuse and emotional abuse.
  • The number  of substantiated cases was similar for each of the three types of abuse (physical, emotional  and sexual) and neglect, with physical abuse the largest (5,890 cases) and sexual abuse the smallest (4,876 cases).
  • Reports of child abuse and neglect came mainly from friends or neighbours (17% of finalised cases) or parents (14%). Friends and neighbours, the greatest source of reporting, had one of the lowest rates of substantiation, whereas the subject child, one of the sources reporting  least often, had one of the highest rates of substantiation.
  • The major source of reports of child abuse and neglect varied between the States and Territories. The most common source of reports was a friend or neighbour  in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern  Territory, school personnel in South Australia  and Tasmania, parents/ guardians in the Australian  Capital Territory, and the police in Victoria.