Child abuse and neglect is a social and public health problem in Australia, as well as a children's rights issue. The five main types of child mistreatment are:
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- emotional maltreatment
- witnessing domestic violence.
Child abuse and neglect can have physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioural and social consequences, which are often interrelated.
Child abuse occurs in all cultures, socio-economic groups and areas, though some children are at more risk of abuse than others. Risk factors include:
- domestic violence
- parental alcohol and drug abuse
- parental mental health problems
Zero Tolerance to Child Abuse Campaign
Since 2010, Council has focused its efforts on raising awareness about child abuse prevention and how to report suspected cases to relevant authorities. Activities undertaken as part of the zero tolerance to child abuse campaign have included meetings between Melton Shire Council and leading experts in the field of child abuse prevention, the development and distribution of social marketing and community events to strengthen protective factors known to prevent child abuse. In 2012, Council will develop a three year strategy to prevent family violence and child abuse in the Shire.
Child Friendly Cities
Melton Council is committed to promoting children’s health and wellbeing. Based on the United Nations Child Friendly City Principles, the goals of Council’s Municipal Early Year Plan are:
- connected, child friendly communities
- supportive, sustainable environments
- the best start for every child
- supporting family strengths working together
- learning from research.
Council is aiming to achieve these goals through service delivery including parks, libraries, public toilet, safe streets, parent-friendly parking, safe bike paths, cultural and social events and resources for parents including playgroups and parenting courses. Council also works to protect children in the community through integrated family support services with service including the Brimbank Melton Child and Family Services Alliance.
Council supports National Child Protection Week, Children’s Week and funds community events to promote children’s health and wellbeing through the community grants program.
For more information, contact Council's Community Wellbeing Officer on 9747 7200
Other organisations that address child abuse
Australian Childhood Foundation
National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect NAPCAN
Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry
National Child Protection Clearinghouse
Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria
Women's Health West