A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2011-12 reveals incidents of child abuse and neglect has almost doubled since 2001.
This gives me chills. Because I was abused as a child and it was never reported. I can only imagine how many cases there are like mine. Children are being abused and it's being kept silent.
I still remember the terror.
I was running as fast as I could but I was only four. I had a feeling my attempt to escape was in vain, but survival instinct kicked in. I knew if she caught me I was a good as dead.
I felt her before she got me. She was right behind me. She grabbed my hair and spun me around. Grabbing a second handful of my hair she shook me and screeched with rage in my face.
Then the hitting began.
My earliest childhood memory is of being beaten and my entire childhood is mapped out by similar events. My mother just couldn't cope with us. She was a monster. She cooked for us, she cleaned us, she fed us, she clothed us and she beat us.
I was the third of four children and I never felt loved. I felt hated.
I knew the sensation of a dizzying blow to the head better than the feeling of a parent's embrace. In fact, the only time I ever remember my mother hugging me was when I ran off at a shopping centre one day. I thought she'd left me there and gone home without me. To my then 5-year-old brain, she didn't love me anyway so it was perfectly reasonable to think I'd been left behind.
I started walking home and a family drove me back to the shopping centre where my mum was running frantically through the shopping centre trailed by security guards and my sisters. When she saw me she ran to me crying and I ran to her and burst out sobbing. She picked me up and hugged me for minutes.
That was the first day I ever felt loved.
But it didn't last.
I can't remember the things I did wrong. Sometimes I probably made a mess. Sometimes I probably cried. Sometimes I probably fought with my sisters. Sometimes I accidentally broke things.
I wished I didn't have hair because that's how it always began. She'd grab a handful of hair and then the rest of the abuse would begin. I remember her smashing my head into the concrete wall, I remember her hitting me with a wooden spoon and when that broke I remember her taking off her shoe and continuing with it.
My sisters received much worse punishments than I did because I quickly learned to run and hide. If I hid until I heard dad's truck coming up the driveway I knew I would be safe. She wouldn't dare do it in front of him.