The ACMS identified, for the first time, how many Australians in the general population have been exposed to each of the five types of child abuse and neglect (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic violence).
This is first study in Australia to collect this important information.
The ACMS used computer-assisted telephone interview surveys to interview just over 8500 every day Australians (including 3500 young people aged 16-24) about their historical childhood exposure to five types of maltreatment.
In addition to capturing prevalence data the ACMS identified long term mental and physical health outcomes associated with exposure to child abuse and neglect, and calculated the burden of disease, or real costs, of maltreatment over the course of the lifespan. as well as their current mental and physical health.
The project had
three broad aims:
- To identify how many Australians have been exposed to child maltreatment and to gather important details about the nature of this abuse such as when it most often occurs and who inflicts this abuse.
- To identify the long-term physical (e.g., cardiac issues, obesity, diabetes) and mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance misuse) that are associated with childhood exposure to maltreatment.
- To identify the burden of disease or real-life costs of maltreatment.
The findings from this study already informing policy and practice to help prevent and reduce child maltreatment in Australia. The study has is supported by the Australian government with whom the research team is working closely to maximise impact.
The ACMS has received ethical clearance from the Queensland University of Technology Human Research Ethics Committee (ref 1900000477)
The development of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study was informed by gold standard research methodology and identified policy needs. Our goal is to conduct high quality, rigorous, empirical research with a translational focus that ensures policy and practice impact.
The ACMS project team includes researchers from a number of Australian (Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, Australian Catholic University, Curtin) and international universities (University of New Hampshire, University of Edinburgh, University of Greenwich).
The ACMS is proud to partner with the National Health and Medical Research Council, The Social Research Centre, and the Australian Government on this important project. For more information about our partners please click here.