This paper summarises the current state of knowledge about the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in Australia.
It provides an overview of Australian studies that have estimated the prevalence of the different forms of child maltreatment (i.e., physical abuse, neglect, emotional maltreatment, the witnessing of family violence, and sexual abuse). In this paper the terms "child abuse and neglect" and "child maltreatment" are used interchangeably.
Prevalence refers to the proportion of a population that has experienced a phenomenon, for example, the percentage of Australians aged 18 years and over in 2009 who were ever abused or neglected as a child. Incidence refers to the number of new cases occurring over a specified period of time (normally a year), for example, the number of Australian children aged 0-17 years who were abused or neglected during 2009.