Chasing shadows

The Age

Michelle Griffin
March 1, 2012

There has been a steady increase in abuse notifications, from 12,000 in 1990 to 55,000 today. Photo: Justin McManus

In 1990, there were 12,000 notifications of suspected child abuse in Victoria. Today, there are 55,000. What’s going on and how can it be fixed?

SPRAWLING as a Russian novel and just as grim, the Cummins report into child welfare in Victoria caps more than 20 years of investigations of our society’s thorniest problem: how to protect and care for our most vulnerable children.

There are no personal stories in the 900 densely typed pages of findings, data tables and recommendations. However, you can see the shadows thrown by the children whose unhappy lives inform the steady incline of the graphs charting abuse notifications, protection orders and, in the careful wording of bad news, adverse outcomes.

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