Results: From 1999 to 2010, the overall annual rates of notification for maltreatment of Aboriginal children showed an average increase of 21% (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.21; 95% CI, 1.19–1.24). The greatest increases were in notifications for neglect and emotional abuse. There were parallel increases in rates of substantiated cases of maltreatment. Among non-Aboriginal children, the overall annual rates of notification also increased (IRR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.07–1.14); however, changes in annual rates of substantiated cases for all types of maltreatment were not statistically significant.
Conclusion: There have been considerable increases in both notifications and substantiated cases of child maltreatment, most prominently among Aboriginal children. It is possible that the observed increases reflect increasing incidence of maltreatment; however, they are also consistent with a mix of increased surveillance, improved service access, changes in policy and a shift in public attitudes.
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