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Landmark Survey commences to find prevalence of child abuse and health outcomes

The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS), led by Professor Ben Mathews in collaboration with a team of international researchers, is undertaking a nationwide survey to identify the prevalence of child abuse and its health impacts.

The $2.8 million study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Government, and the Australian Institute of Criminology, has three main parts, and is the most comprehensive national study in this field. The survey will be conducted with 10,000 randomly drawn participants, aged 16 and over from across Australia.

Professor Mathews said the results of the survey would generate Australia’s first reliable estimate of the prevalence and co-occurrence of all five forms of child maltreatment:

  • sexual abuse
  • physical abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • neglect
  • exposure to domestic violence

In addition to maltreatment the ACMS will assess other forms of Adverse Childhood Experiences and sibling and peer bullying. The ACMS also has a strong focus on domestic violence, and measures both the experience of domestic violence in childhood, and the experience of intimate partner violence in adulthood.

The research team engages with government, non-government, and community stakeholders to translate the study’s findings to public health policy and practice and hopes to conduct further studies to understand how to strengthen resilience and reverse the effects of childhood adversity. Initial results from this survey will be available in 2022.

To find out more about the study visit the Australian Child Maltreatment Study website.

About the Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS)

The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS) is the first Australian study of the prevalence of child maltreatment. This research will generate essential data to inform policy and practice reforms to reduce child abuse and neglect in Australia.

Ben MathewsAbout Professor Ben Mathews

Ben Mathews is a Research Professor in the School of Law at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane and the Director of the Childhood Adversity Research Program. Professor Mathews has published 3 books, 20 government reports, 90 refereed scholarly articles and book chapters, and 40 law reform submissions on issues concerning children and the law, and over 60 national and international conference presentations, with a focus on multidisciplinary research at the interface of child maltreatment and law.

You can find out more about Ben and his research on his staff profile.

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