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Protecting children from abuse and neglect

Mathews, Benjamin P. (2008) Protecting children from abuse and neglect. In Monahan, Geoff & Young, Lisa (Eds.) Children and the Law in Australia. LexisNexis, Chatswood NSW, pp. 204-237.

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Abstract

Governments throughout Australia are increasingly engaged with the complex, multifaceted and costly problems of child abuse and neglect. At least three massive challenges exist: 1. how to prevent a child from being abused and or neglected before it initially happens; 2. how to detect abuse and neglect at an early stage to protect the child and enable the provision of assistance to the child, the parents and family; and 3. how best to respond to different cases, whether formally substantiated or not. All three challenges face legislators, policymakers, public administrators and many practitioners in social work, health, education and law enforcement. Further, these challenges involve difficult issues of philosophy, law, government, and social work and case management practice. Philosophical issues include, for example, those regarding when and how it is appropriate for the State to intervene in family life. Legal issues include how to design appropriate and effective ways for legislation to enhance the early reporting of cases of abuse and neglect, and how to ensure that court orders are appropriate and effective in any given case. Even more fundamental is the issue of what a government defines as sufficient ‘abuse’ and ‘neglect’ for various purposes, including when child protective services are warranted. There are pressures on government, including matters of policy leadership, decisions about financial resourcing, challenges of administration including ensuring effective case intake and assessment, demands for service provision, and ongoing requirements to monitor practice and to conduct evaluative research. For those involved in social work or case management, there are issues concerning what interventions are most effective and most cost-effective in responding to different types of abuse and neglect, both regarding the child, the child’s parents, and the child's family. As well, workers in the field unfortunately have to deal with an innately difficult context in which to work, and cope with seemingly inevitable understaffing and resource shortage. It would be difficult to do justice to such complex and multifaceted problems in a full-length book, and the situation is further complicated by each State and Territory having its own child protection system, rather than there being one national system. Accordingly, this chapter introduces just some of the key areas of legal regulation concerning the protection of children from abuse and neglect, and points to some of the most urgent questions facing legislators, policymakers and practitioners.

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ID Code: 14258
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Child protection, law, child abuse and neglect, Australia
ISBN: 9780409323900
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law not elsewhere classified (180199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Family Law (180113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Law and Justice Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Reed International Books Australia (LexisNexis)
Deposited On: 04 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:47

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