Child abuse or neglect

A finding of substantiated child abuse (including emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse) or neglect is made after an investigation or assessment has been completed by Oranga Tamariki, and abuse or neglect has been substantiated. Oranga Tamariki receive reports of concern from the courts, education, police, health, non-government organisations, families and members of the public and other notifiers. Abused and neglected children (at levels serious enough to warrant statutory intervention) are more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug use and mental health problems [17].

When monitoring outcomes such as child and young people’s maltreatment it is important to consider whether recorded variation is indicative of real variation in the occurrence of maltreatment (i.e., actual exposure of children to maltreatment) [12,19-22]. Monitoring data may be affected by factors that shape recognition, recording and response [28]. For example, this may include increased awareness of the need for the care and protection of children, a growing willingness by communities to contact agencies in family violence situations, high profile media cases, and social marketing campaigns, and/or changes in referral pathways [23,24].

This indicator presents the three-month rolling average for the number of substantiated findings of child abuse or neglect annually, for the Canterbury area.

The figures show that from 2009 to 2013, Canterbury and New Zealand overall both experienced increasing numbers of recorded substantiated findings of child abuse or neglect. However, from 2013 to 2017, there has been a decline in the number of substantiated findings of child abuse or neglect recorded, both in Canterbury and nationally. The annual number of substantiated findings recorded has declined to 749 for Canterbury and 14,089 for all of New Zealand, in 2017.

Data Sources

Source:; Ministry of Social Development/Oranga Tamariki.
Survey/data set: Administrative data to March 2018. Custom data request for Oranga Tamariki sites including Christchurch East, Christchurch West, Papanui, Sydenham; Rangiora; and Aoraki/Timaru.
Source data frequency: Monthly.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 21/11/2018