In 2016, the estimated rate of homelessness for children and young people birth to 18 years in South Australia was 39 per 10,000 population, a decrease from 42 in 2011. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ definition of homelessness is a person ‘who does not have suitable accommodation alternatives and whose current living arrangement is a dwelling that is inadequate; has no tenure, or their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations’.
In 2016, the rate of homelessness for Aboriginal children and young people birth to 18 years was 260 per 10,000 population, significantly less than the national average of 336.
In metropolitan Adelaide, the region with the highest rate of homelessness for children and young people birth to 18 was Adelaide – North (46 per 10,000 population). In regional/remote South Australia the region with the highest rate of homelessness was South Australia – Outback (111 per 10,000 population).
Housing costs may be the largest and least flexible item in a family budget. Housing stress may be experienced when more than 30% of a family’s total income is spent on housing. In 2016 in South Australia, the proportion of children and young people (birth to 14 years) living in a household experiencing housing stress was 21%, a decrease from 2011 (24%) and an increase from 2001 (12%).
In metropolitan Adelaide, the proportion of children and young people (birth to 14 years) living in households with housing stress was 23% and in remote South Australia the proportion was 11%.
Aboriginal children and young people in South Australia appear to be less likely to be living in households with housing stress (27%) compared to the national average (28%).
Deaths as a result of injury
In 2014-16, 48 children and young people (birth-14 years) in South Australia died as a result of injury (a rate of 5.3 per 100,000 population).
The highest rate of death due to injury (7.5 per 100,000 population) was for young children (birth-4 years). The rate for 5-9 year olds was 3.9 per 100,000 population and for 10-14 year olds the rate was 4.5 per 100,000 population.
Nationally in 2014-16, the rate of death due to injury was 4.1 per 100,000 population, a decrease since 2005-07, when the rate was 6.1 per 100,000 population.
Children and young people receiving child protection services
In 2017-18, the rate of child protection substantiations for children and young people (birth – 17 years) was 4 per 1,000 population in South Australia, an increase from 3.9 in 2016-17.
The rate of children and young people receiving child protection services in 2017-18 was 18 per 1,000 population. This compares to the national rate of 29 per 1,000 population.
In 2017-18, children up to 12 months were the most likely to be receiving a child protection service, the rate being 35 per 1,000 population.
Young people apprehended by police
In 2016, 2,627 young people aged 10-17 years were apprehended by police in South Australia, a decrease from 4,291 in 2011. The three most common reasons for apprehensions of young people included theft from retail premises, serious assault not resulting in injury and unlawful entry with intent/burglary.
The apprehension rate for all young people aged 10-17 years in 2017-18 was 237 per 10,000 population, a decrease from 276 per 10,000 population in 2011-12.
Onkaparinga and Playford local government areas had the highest number of apprehensions.
Unrestrained children in cars
In 2017-18, South Australian police issued 668 fines or cautions for failing to safely restrain passengers under the age of 16 years. This was a decrease from the previous year. In 2016-17 there were 761 fines or cautions for the same offenses.
More fines or cautions were issued in the Far North Police Service Area where 345 have been issued since 2017.
Road and traffic safety
In 2017-18 in South Australia, 8,877 children and young people attended the South Australian Police Road Safety Centre. This was an increase of 888 from 2016-17.
The centre offers road and traffic safety programs to school groups and community organisations. There is a mock roadway where children and young people can learn about bike and traffic safety in a safe environment.