Each year, millions of Australian children experience horrific abuse and neglect.
In the past two years, more than 245,000 reports have been made about Australian children to child protection services.
University of South Australia researchers are hoping to combat that statistic by looking into the impact child abuse has on the next generation.
The new study, supported by Channel Seven’s Children’s Research Foundation, will explore connections between women who suffered child abuse and the outcomes of their offspring.
Researchers will look at close to 42,000 mums and their children, comparing data about their marital status, employment, education and their child’s health and social wellbeing.
“We’ll be looking at what happens to them in terms of their outcomes in terms of things like hospitalisations, emergency department attendance, school involvement, school absenteeism, death rates,” researcher Leonie Segal said.
“If we have something that’s moving through generations and having inter-generational impact, then we need to understand it so that we can disrupt those pathways.”
Child abuse survivor Melissa Mitchell says while making positive changes in the face of adversity is not easy, she never let her past define her life.
“I decided from a very young age that I needed education, community and people around me that could support me,” Mitchell said.
Researchers will present their findings by mid-year.