Child abuse reflects society’s ills

These statistics provide a sad insight into the level of pain that exists among the most vulnerable in our community ” our children.

They present a disturbing picture of Australia today.

Why does child abuse remain so prevalent among us? Why are the statistics getting worse rather than better? Why in a modern, educated and rich society do we still have children experiencing such painful events?

There are no easy answers to these questions. However, the awful nature of abuse demands that we reflect more deeply on the issue.

An aspect of child abuse that we don’t discuss often relates to our collective responsibility as distinct from that of the perpetrators.

In reality, child abuse is both an individual and community problem.

Violence is so prevalent in our community, both within and external to the home, that it should come as no surprise to us that it is committed against our children.

In a recent interstate article a former child protection worker and manager stated:

‘If we are truly concerned about the next generation of children, we must address social disadvantage at a systemic and not a family level, and that includes serious efforts to improve the housing, health and income of the most marginalised in society.’

It seems that the responsibility for ongoing child abuse in our community is not just due to the horrendous actions of individuals but also to society’s inaction on important issues such as poverty, homelessness, housing, education and mental health.

We can no longer say it is too costly to invest in those things that enhance the safety and health of our children.

The vision of an Australia where children can flourish is what is required and what we collectively need to achieve.