Improving national data on safety in care
This report presents data from the Child Protection National Minimum Data Set: a national data collection on safety in care. The departments responsible for child protection in each state and territory supply data to the AIHW for analysis and national reporting.
This collection was established in response to 3 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Although the Royal Commission had a specific focus on sexual abuse, the national data collection also includes physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Work is continuing to enhance and expand the collection and reporting of these data.
State and territory governments, in response to the findings from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, have agreed to implement a range of data reforms. These include:
- developing nationally agreed key terms and definitions in relation to child sexual abuse
- prioritising enhancements to the Child Protection National Minimum Data Set
- adopting a national consistent definition for child sexual exploitation.
A number of other Royal Commission recommendations proposed changes to various aspects of the out-of-home care system to better protect vulnerable children from sexual abuse while in care. The efforts of the Australian, state and territory governments to implement the Royal Commission recommendations are described in annual progress reports.
To provide a more complete understanding of the complexities of abuse in care, future national reporting will include:
- information about children who were the subject of multiple substantiations and/or had multiple types of abuse in care
- a ‘best estimate’ of the rate of abuse among all children in care
- expanded data to progress the Royal Commission recommendations (for example, additional child demographics, further information on when and where the abuse occurred and who perpetrated the abuse, along with data on sexual exploitation).