Preventing Sexual Abuse in OOHC

In September the Royal Commission released an issues paper looking at ways to prevent the sexual abuse of children in out-of-home care.

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare – the peak body for the children and families sector – will respond to this paper with input from its members, which includes all Victorian providers of out-of-home care.

The Centre’s CEO Deb Tsorbaris said that ‘it is critical that our community services can ensure the safety of children in care… these kids have often experienced significant abuse, neglect and other trauma prior to entering state care. It is our responsibility to ensure that out-of-home care is a safe and secure environment where they can recover from the traumas that saw them removed from their families in the first place”.

This issues paper calls for submissions on 11 key points around the safety of children in state care, and institutional approaches to preventing sexual abuse.

In this paper the Royal Commission begin by identifying the safety and security of children as essential elements of out-of-home care, and asks whether there are strategies to keep these children safe from sexual abuse. Critically, it also asks whether there is evidence to support the effectiveness of these strategies.

From here the questions become more specific, asking respondents to identify strengths and weaknesses of various aspects of our out-of-home care system, assess the adequacy of training of carers, suggest implications around record keeping and access to records, and more.

The Royal Commission will hold a public forum in the first quarter of 2014 to discuss matters raised in the issues paper.

A copy of the issues paper can be found here.


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