What we do

Child safety focusses on engaging with families earlier and, where appropriate, keeping children safely at home.

Substantiated investigations

Substantiated investigations

Abuse is an action against a child that causes harm. Harm refers to any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing. Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect, or sexual abuse or exploitation.

An investigation and assessment will have an outcome of substantiated where it is assessed that a child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm. 

A substantiated outcome can be:

  • Substantiated - Child in need of protection – The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm and there is no parent able and willing to protect the child.

          OR

  • Substantiated - Child not in need of protection – The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered significant harm, but there is no unacceptable risk of future significant harm as the child has a parent able and willing to protect them.

Children who are harmed or neglected, including those who witness domestic and family violence, often exhibit emotional, cognitive, and behavioural problems. These can include:

  • depression
  • suicidal behaviour
  • difficulty in school
  • use of alcohol and other drugs
  • early sexual activity

Without proper support, abuse and neglect can have long term impacts on children and young people. Research has shown that children and young people who have experienced abuse can have poorer outcomes in regard to their health, education and adult relationships.

Substantiation outcomes of investigation and assessments

Source: Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

What is being counted

  1. Data is for the year ending the reference date (12 months of data).
  2. Counts notifications recorded during the reference period, where an investigation and assessment has been finalised and the outcome was recorded as substantiated in need of protection or substantiated not in need of protection.
  3. Non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander: Includes non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and children whose Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status is unknown or not stated.

Definition notes

  1. Investigation and assessment: An investigation and assessment (I&A) is Child Safety's response to all notifications, and is the process of assessing a child’s need for protection, if there are allegations of harm or risk of harm to the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14 (1)).
    The outcome of an I&A may be either:
    - Substantiated
    - Unsubstantiated
    - Other or
    - No Subject Child - where it is determined the child does not exist or is not a member of the household being investigated, and the case is closed.
  2. Substantiated - Child in need of protection: The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm and there is no parent able and willing to protect the child.
  3. Substantiated - Child not in need of protection: The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered significant harm, but there is no unacceptable risk of future significant harm as the child has a parent able and willing to protect them.
  4. Intake source: The source of the concerns received.
  5. Mandatory reporters: Under legislation there are groups of people and professionals who are required to report child protection concerns.
    These include:
    - medical practitioners and registered nurses
    - approved teachers
    - authorised officers or employees of the department
    - police officers with child protection responsibilities
    - a person performing a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014
    - early childhood education and care professionals
    - employees of licensed residential facilities with respect to harm involving children in residential care.

Time series notes

From June 2017: Changes to the Child Protection Act 1999 included mandatory reporting from police, health and school personnel.

Impact on data: Changed (increased) the scope of matters required to be reported to the department

From September 2017: Changes to the Child Protection Act 1999 included early childhood personnel to be mandatory reporters.

Children substantiated

Source: Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

What is being counted

  1. Data is for the year ending the reference date (12 months of data).
  2. Counts the number of individual children subject to a notification during the reference period, where an investigation and assessment has been finalised and the outcome was recorded as substantiated.
  3. If a child is subject to more than one substantiation in the period, the child is counted only once.
  4. Most serious abuse type: Refers to the type of abuse assessed as being most serious, according to their first substantiation during the period.
  5. Age group: Based the age of the child at the time the concerns were received.
  6. Non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander: Includes non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and children whose Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status is unknown or not stated.

Definition notes

  1. Investigation and assessment: An investigation and assessment (I&A) is Child Safety's response to all notifications, and is the process of assessing a child’s need for protection, if there are allegations of harm or risk of harm to the child (Child Protection Act 1999, section 14 (1)).

    The outcome of an I&A may be either:

    - Substantiated

    - Unsubstantiated

    - Other or

    - No Subject Child - where it is determined the child does not exist or is not a member of the household being investigated, and the case is closed.

  2. Substantiated: It is assessed that the child or young person has suffered significant harm, is suffering significant harm, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm. Where the risk of future significant harm is present and the child does not have a parent able and willing to protect them, a child is considered to be in need of protection.

  3. Substantiated - Child in need of protection: The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm and there is no parent able and willing to protect the child.

  4. Emotional: Emotional harm refers to the circumstances when a child’s social, emotional, cognitive or intellectual development is impaired or at unacceptable risk of being impaired as a direct result of parental behaviour/attitude. It includes significant emotional deprivation due to persistent coldness, rejection or hostility. The harm to the child may have a cumulative effect and/or be observable in behaviours such as severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, indicators of inappropriate attachment or bonding, self-harming behaviour or aggressive behaviour towards others.

  5. Neglect: The child's basic needs of life are unmet by their parent to such an extent that the child's health and development are affected, causing harm, or likely to cause an unacceptable risk of harm to the child.

  6. Physical: Physical harm refers to circumstances where a child has suffered, or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering, serious physical trauma or injury of a non-accidental nature, due to the actions of their parent.

  7. Sexual: Sexual abuse is any sexual activity or behaviour that is imposed on a child and results in physical or emotional harm. It includes the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct or behaviour for the sexual gratification or profit of the person responsible. It also includes circumstances where there is an unacceptable risk that the child may be sexually abused.

Children subject to substantiation - Rate per 1,000

Source: Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

What is being counted

  1. Data is for the year ending the reference date (12 months of data).

  2. Children subject to a substantiation: Counts the number of individual children subject to a notification during the reference period, where an investigation and assessment has been finalised and the outcome was recorded as substantiated.

    If a child is subject to more than one substantiation in the period, the child is counted only once.

  3. Children subject to a substantiation - in need of protection: Counts the number of individual children subject to a notification during the reference period, where an investigation and assessment has been finalised and the outcome was recorded as substantiated and the child is in need of protection.

    If a child is subject to more than one substantiation "in need of protection" in the period, the child is counted only once.

  4. Rate per thousand: Refers to the number of children for each of the above categories, divided by the population of children and young people aged 0-17 years of age. Population data is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and is based on estimated resident population for Queenslanders aged 0-17 years, as at 30 June of the previous year.

  5. Non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander: Includes non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and children whose Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status is unknown or not stated.

Definition notes

  1. Substantiated: The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm.
  2. Substantiated - Child in need of protection: The outcome of an investigation and assessment where it is assessed that the child or young person has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering future, significant harm and there is no parent able and willing to protect the child.

Time series notes

From June 2019: Estimated resident population data for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people in Queensland have been revised for all reference periods using rebased population estimates by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2016 Census based) sourced from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office. The size, structure and components of these estimates supersede those previously published by the ABS (2011 Census based).