Children and young people

Hidden, under-recorded and under-reported

Violence, harassment and bullying of children and young people are hidden, under recorded and under reported.[29] This makes it is difficult to know accurately the extent of the problem. There can be considerable fear and stigma associated with reporting violence and sexual abuse, in particular when appropriate and accessible support services are not available. There are also limitations to the extent of legal protection children have against physical punishment in the home.[30]

Another reason why violence, harassment and bullying may be under reported is that bullying and harassment can be seen as a ‘normal’ part of growing up. This may make it difficult to assess accurately the extent of violence, harassment and bullying against children and young people due to disagreement about what is considered ‘acceptable.’

There is also a lack of disaggregated data showing how rates of violence, harassment and bullying vary across different populations.[31]

Despite these limitations, a range of sources including large international research projects, government statistics, independent inquiries and academic research show that violence, harassment and bullying against children and young people are major problems.[32]


[29] UNGA, UN Secretary General’s Study on violence against children, UN Doc A/61/299 (2006) paras 25 -27. At (viewed 26 August 2010).
[30] Prue Holzer, Alister Lamont, Corporal punishment: Key Issues, National Child Protection Clearinghouse, Australian Institute of Family Studies (2010) p 3. At (viewed 9 September 2010).
[31] For example see AIHW, p113.
[32] See for example AIHW (2009) A Picture of Australia’s Young People, UNGA Report of the Independent expert of the United Nations study on violence against children.