Children at risk of abuse or neglect in Melbourne’s north will be able to access support services closer to home following the opening of an integrated therapy centre in Broadmeadows.

Act for Kids recently opened the Riggall Street centre, bringing together psychologists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists to work with children who have experienced or are at risk of child abuse and neglect.

Act for Kids chief executive Neil Carrington said the organisation had been running similar centres in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia for 30 years.

Dr Carrington said demand for services to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect was increasing across the country.

“In 2017-19, there were 49,315 children abused or neglected in Australia,” he said. “Sadly, this number is frighteningly high. Emotional abuse was the most prevalent type, confirmed in 48 per cent of cases.

“We will work closely with the existing health services to ensure Victorian kids and families get the integrated support they need to overcome their experiences and challenges.

“Seeing them get stronger and have happier, healthier futures is our goal.”

Broadmeadows MP Frank McGuire, who opened the centre, said the work done by  Act for Kids would make a difference to families in Melbourne’s north.

“Caring for our children is one of the greatest duties and responsibilities,” he said.