The state government of Victoria established the inter departmental committee of inquiry into allegations of neglect and maltreatment of young children to investigate claims made in articles published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 1966. The committee was set up in December 1966 and first reported in December 1967. A second report was delivered in 1969.
The articles published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 1966 were some of the earliest research into what became termed as ‘child abuse’.
Dora Bialestock’s research concerned babies admitted to Allambie Reception Centre, and Drs Robert and John Birrell reported on eight cases of ‘maltreated’ children coming to the notice of the police.
The committee’s first report included a recommendation for a scheme for voluntary reporting of child maltreatment. It also recommended action on accommodation at Allambie nursery and the registration and training of child care workers.
In 1968, the Birrells published research into the cases of 42 maltreated children at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. This article led to the committee being reconvened and another report was delivered in 1969, which recommended the establishment of a pilot research centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Subsequently, the Victorian Department of Health established the Child Maltreatment Workshop in 1975.