Between 2008 and 2013, recorded offences of violence, sexual assaults and neglect of children rose 68%. Over this period, recorded assaults on children doubled from 1,328 to 2,667 offences, while recorded sexual offences against children rose 43% from 1,379 offences to 1,976. Recorded cases of child neglect rose by 42% during this period, rising from 401 offences in 2007/08 to 569 offences in 2012/13, although they peaked at 657 cases in the 2011/12 year.
Over the five years to 30 June 2013, more serious child assaults have increased by 83%—from 612 recorded offences in 2007/08 to 1,032 offences in 2012/13. The number of recorded sexual assaults on children rose a further 3% during the year to 30 June 2013, to 1,976 offences. This number is 43% greater than the 1,379 child sex offences recorded in 2008.
The resolution rate for recorded child assaults involving injury declined from 80% in the year to 30 June 2008 to 63% in the year to 30 June 2013. Over the same period, the prosecution rate for such offending declined from 66% to 45%.
The amendment of section 59 of the Crimes Act in 2007 appears to have led to an increase in the numbers of recorded offences for non-injury assaults on children. Since June 2008, the numbers of such offences have risen by nearly 160%—from an average of almost 450 such offences recorded annually between 2002 and 2007, to an annual average of 1,150 recorded offences. The annual average number of prosecutions for non-injury assaults on children has risen by 200 per year as a consequence of this increase in the number of recorded offences.
Notifications to Child Youth and Family during the year to 30 June 2013 totalled 148,659, 3% fewer than the 153,407 reported during the previous year. However, the 2013 figure is 66% or nearly 60,000 higher than the number of cases notified five years earlier during the year to 30 June 2008. This recent small decline appears to be due mainly to changes in the number of notifications made by the Police.
Cases of substantiated child abuse or neglect rose 4% between 2011/12 and 2012/13 from 22,172 to 22,984 cases, and by 41% over the five years to 30 June 2013.