Most people would turn a blind eye if confronted with clear signs that a child was being physically or sexually abused or neglected, a new Australian survey has revealed.
The survey conducted by The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) discovered that less than half the respondents would contact child protection authorities or the police if they knew a child was being abused, reports the Age.
Only one-third of respondents would call police if a child disclosed sexual abuse, the survey of 22,000 Australians revealed.
Bernie Geary, Victoria's Child Safety Commissioner, said there were simply no excuses for people in the community who would not report abuse.
"We tend to sit back and be really critical of those who work with abused children, but if we don't have the support of people in the general community there's little hope," Geary said.
The survey found 92 percent respondents agreed that child abuse was a serious issue. But most said they would not report it because they might be wrong (48 per cent); they didn't think it was their business (42 per cent); they didn't know what to do (38 per cent); or they didn't want to admit that abuse happened (22 per cent).
NAPCAN chief executive officer Rosanna Martinello said the figures were alarming.
"We want the community to change their mindset and accept that it's everyone's responsibility to prevent child abuse from happening," Martinello said.
Childhood abuse has been linked to behavioural problems, mental illness, violence and drug and alcohol dependence.