300 child abuse reports a day in Queensland

NZ Herald

MORE than 300 reports of suspected child abuse a day are reaching the Queensland Government.

The shocking figure was revealed by Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman during the budget estimates committee hearing at State Parliament on Thursday.

Police are making most of the reports - 38% - and about 15% are coming from schools.

"All of these cases are being actioned," Ms Fentiman told the Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee during its examination of 2015-16 budget commitments under the minister's portfolios.

"They are given absolute priority.

"They have all been acted upon or are being acted upon."

Ms Fentiman said Child Safety Services was equipped to handle the flood of reports.

Her office said the number of reports had dropped by 15%.

Thursday's revelation follows the controversial education system IT bungle last month that saw 644 potential child sex abuse claims fail to reach Queensland Police.

Ms Fentiman was forced to address this bungle and revelations that a "firewall" stopped a further 272 reports of alleged abuse from reaching authorities.

Principals registered all of the 916 reports of suspected abuse to Child Safety Services through the online OneSchool service between September, 2013 and January, 2015.

Ms Fentiman said she found about latest problem on Monday.

"When the department learned about OneSchool emails not being received by Queensland Police, my department immediately began double-checking records and systems for any issues at our end," Ms Fentiman told the hearing.

"For the year ending March 31, more than 18,000 reports from school personnel had been received by child safety, much of this through the OneSchool system.

"The initial check went back to January - that's when we found 27 reports of children not known to us.

"We've now gone back to September 2013.

"After rounds of automated and annual checks I can confirm that 272 matters were identified as potential matters not received."

Opposition child safety spokeswoman and Aspley MP, Tracey Davis, asked Ms Fentiman if any of the children in the latest glitch were at "significant risk of harm"

"Each of these 272 matters have now been assessed and the appropriate action taken in every case," Ms Fentiman said.

"Of the cases not known to us, none of them so far have required intervention."


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