Sexual exploitation of children in state care



“The sexual exploitation of vulnerable children in state care by paedophiles requires immediate, decisive action from Government” says Deb Tsorbaris, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.

“I recognise the efforts of VICPOL and the Department of Human Services in taking this matter seriously through rigorous joint investigative work and through a comprehensive training package for staff working with these most vulnerable children. But much more needs to be done. Doing better investigations without addressing the underlying problems facing these children won’t fix the problem.” said Ms Tsorbaris.

Much more needs to be done to address the reasons why children are so vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Many of these children are disconnected from school and their family and often see no hope for themselves.

The day to day care arrangements for half of the children in residential care only provides for one staff member caring for up to four deeply traumatised children. This issue has been raised by the Centre with the Department of Human Services on numerous occasions.

“With new social media applications such as Whatsapp and Snapchat providing opportunities for paedophiles to have easy access to images and chats with children and young people in state care, it’s vital that we improve standard of supervision and support in residential care.” said Ms Tsorbaris.

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare calls on the Victorian Government to immediately:

  • Improve the level of supervision and support available for children in residential care units by ensuring that at least two staff members are on duty at any one time.
  • Ensure every child in residential care and their carers receives training to understand the risks and dangers of social media applications such as Whatsapp and Snapchat
  • Ensure every child in care has an individual education plan and that the plan is implemented and regularly reviewed
  • Continue to invest in more therapeutic residential care arrangements for children known to be at risk of sexual exploitation



Deb Tsorbaris, CEO

9614 1577

0417 599 8690417 599 869


Alistair Perkins, Media and Communications

0408 083 2380408 083 238


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