Public Consultation Report June 2019
This report is informed by a series of co-design workshops and individual consultations held by the National Office for Child Safety with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and their advocates, child protection experts, clinical practitioners, non-government organisations, academics, institutions and government officials.
This report first provides an overview of stakeholder feedback received on the development of the National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (National Strategy). The absence of a trauma-informed, culturally safe, accessible and responsive service system to address the impacts of child sexual abuse was identified as a critical gap. The need to raise public awareness of child sexual abuse, reduce stigma to improve disclosure and help-seeking, and embed cultural understanding were also emphasised as important areas for the National Strategy to address.
Stakeholders identified the need for the National Strategy to include a significant focus on offender prevention, including age appropriate responses to children with harmful sexual behaviours. Responses should include educating people on the difference between healthy and unhealthy sexual development, and providing training for professionals engaging with these children in order to improve evidence-based therapeutic responses and reduction in recidivism.
Finally, Stakeholders noted the need for the National Strategy to have a significant research agenda focusing on developing a better understanding of sexual abuse and the underlying causes, on what works and is successful in prevention, and on trauma informed approaches to the delivery of services.
Next, this report provides an overview of stakeholder feedback received on the implementation of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (National Principles). Stakeholders highlighted that the National Principles are not well known among organisations or in the community. Work needs to be done to raise awareness of the National Principles and their scope in particular with small and volunteer organisations.
The National Office should provide support for organisations to assist them to implement the National Principles. Stakeholders also strongly emphasised the importance of legislative frameworks to support enforcement of the National Principles and to achieve a national standard of safety for children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders highlighted the need for culturally relevant principles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. Stakeholders also identified the absence of a focus on children who abuse other children as a critical gap in the principles.
Lastly, this report provides an overview of stakeholder feedback on the strategic direction of the National Office. Stakeholders emphasised the need for the National Office to set clear, measurable outcomes in order to monitor the National Office’s progress in achieving its strategic goals and directions.