Chapter 12 of the Consultation Paper provides an introduction to the extent of the problem of child abuse in Australia, as well as a discussion of terminology. The chapter also provides a brief history of child protection, as well as an overview of the child protection system as it operates today. The chapter also includes a discussion of particular aspects of the constitutional framework for dealing with child protection issues in the Australian federal system and a consideration of the ‘best interests of the child’ principle.

Chapter 12 is intended to provide general background information and does not contain any questions or proposals.