Child abuse remains high in indigenous communities

12 Sep 2008 3:35 PMJann Stuckey

Figures released today show child abuse remains high in Queensland indigenous communities.

LNP Child Safety and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Development spokeswoman Jann Stuckey said Queensland’s Discrete Indigenous Communities quarterly indicators (April to June 2008) showed child abuse in remote communities was four times the average Queensland rate and in other communities up to 11 times higher.

“This alarmingly high rate of child abuse must be reduced,” Ms Stuckey said.

“Much more investment is required in remote indigenous communities to build strong families and supportive environments for young people.

“Delays in building safe houses in remote communities is not productive.

“Notably, Cherbourg and Woorabinda have very high rates of child abuse with 98.3 cases per 1000 people, compared with 8.8 per 1000 for the State.

“These communities need to nurture strong positive leaders and the Government needs to listen to their views.”

Ms Stuckey said that despite decreases in alcohol-related offences throughout many communities, school attendance figures had dropped from the previous school term.

“Encouraging and supporting children to attend school is vital to building strong, healthy and positive communities,” she said.

“The latest figures show serious social problems remain that require more intensive and holistic responses than just banning alcohol.

“In order to develop healthy, functioning communities the Bligh government must broaden its initiatives and be more inclusive of the views of local community leaders.”

Media contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919