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Divna Haslam, PhD
November 16, 2023

Child maltreatment is associated with poorer outcomes across the lifespan however until recently Australia had no data on the national prevalence of child maltreatment. This presentation will provide an overview of findings of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS)‑— the first prevalence study of child maltreatment and its impact in Australia. We used computer assisted telephone interviewing to survey 8503 Australians ages 16-65 years about exposure to different types of maltreatment in childhood and about a range of adult health outcomes. This presentation will provide an overview of the conceptual models of child maltreatment as well as a review of all key findings.

The presentation will present data on

  • The prevalence of each of the five types of maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, exposure to domestic violence and neglect) and of multi-type maltreatment

  • The association between child maltreatment mental health disorders including which types of maltreatment are most harmful.

  • The association between child maltreatment and a range of health risk behaviours including suicide and self-harm including which types of maltreatment are most harmful.

The findings have important implications for Australian policy and practice. The presentation will end with a review of implications and how Australia should respond.

Divna Haslam head shot wide.2023.jpeg

About the presenter

Dr Divna Haslam is a registered clinical psychologist and a childhood adversity researcher based at Queensland University of Technology and holds an honourary position at the Parenting and Family Support Centre at the University of Queensland. Her work is at the nexus of parenting and adversity and aims to ensure all children have access to the safe, loving, violence-free childhoods they need to thrive across life. This has involved a broad range of work from substantial work in field of evidence-based parenting supports through to epidemiological work in child maltreatment and adverse childhood experiences, most notably on the Australian Child Maltreatment Study. She has published extensively in leading international journals and her work has been cited in policy documents in 7 countries, as well as in clinical excellence guidelines in the United Kingdom. She currently serves on the Queensland Child Death Review Board as a part of the Queensland Family and Child Commission and is a Chief Investigator on three grants expanding on the and building on the Australian Child Maltreatment Study.

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