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Spike in family violence could lead to more child abuse claims in Australia

Despite initiatives such as White Ribbon Day, domestic violence continues to be an issue across Australia, with new research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) confirming that the victims’ needs are changing.

From victims of domestic violence to those suffering child abuse, more people are beginning to find themselves homeless as their former places of residence become even more unsafe. According to the AIHW, this change is being felt especially by specialist homelessness services as victims seek shelter.

What do the statistics mean?

The raw numbers of the AIHW research show that 38 per cent of the nearly 280,000 people seeking homelessness assistance were driven to these services due to violence in their respective households. AIHW spokesperson Anna Ritson noted that while this is a 33 per cent increase on the figures collected in 2011-12, the numbers do tell another story that isn’t as obvious.

“It is important to note that increases in client numbers generally reflect the increased availability and accessibility of services, not necessarily a change in the underlying level of homelessness or domestic and family violence in Australia,” she explained.

The report also revealed that almost half of people involved in these claims were single parents, suggesting these events continue to have an impact on children’s lives. It’s an issue that is also contributing directly to financial challenges for the victims. People are struggling to survive on their own and turning to these agencies after family incidents.

Child abuse also on the rise

An investigation from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) found that child abuse is also increasing around Australia. The number of investigations child protection services undertook grew from around 128,000 in 2010-11 to more than 150,000 in 2014-15. Overall, the total notifications these services received rose from 237,000 to just over 320,000 over the same time period.

The report also broke down the types of abuse children suffered by type across the various states. The two most common types of abuse suffered by children in NSW are emotional abuse and general neglect, but cases of sexual violence remain frequent as well, with 2,600 reported cases 2014-15.

If you know someone who has been suffering from child abuse, our team can help. We understand that these cases can be difficult to face up to, so we aim to make the process easier with our commitment to making it painless and offering free consultations.

To find out more, contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

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Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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