Public forum to consider world-first Uni SA study on the profound impacts of child abuse – and responses that will work

Ground-breaking research by Uni SA, which has revealed profound impacts of early childhood abuse and neglect on the risk of death in adolescents and young adults, will be shared at a public forum next week. All are welcome to attend.

Professor Leonie Segal

Professor Leonie Segal, Foundation Chair in Health Economics and Social Policy, University of South Australia, has headed up an internationally supported 10-year study, drawing on data from more than 600,000 people born in South Australia, looking at the long-term consequences of child maltreatment.

The research links the population with hospital and death records, education and Centrelink records and has found far worse outcomes for those who were maltreated than we had previously understood, including the prevalence of early death, suicide, poisoning, mental illness and long term under- or un-employment.

The study also points to intergenerational transmission as THE core contributing factor, with 89% of children entering out of home care having mothers who had previous child protection contact.

This means we are starting to understand the true scale of the problem, across all health and social domains, and the cost to the community if we don’t act. We also know who we need to support – so, with sufficient and effective responses, we can absolutely turn these lives around.

A better future for all our children: The Why and the How, chaired by Guardian, Penny Wright and Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, will hear from Professor Segal about the impacts of child abuse and neglect – and then explore the options available to respond effectively, involving a whole of government response to support infants and young children and their families.

The forum includes a senior government panel from health, education, child protection and human services – to discuss the role for a cross-government system response, informed by the evidence, in ending cycles of neglect and improving life trajectories for every child.

Other guest speakers include SA Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly and Thrive by Five CEO, Jay Weatherill.

As Professor Segal says, “There is so much to gain from getting this right and so much to lose if we don’t.”

Download the program.


Event details

Date: Monday 16 August

Time: 9:15am to 1:30pm   

Where: SAHMRI Auditorium, Adelaide

Register: Click here to register for the event

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