Institute of Child Protection Studies report: Taking us seriously

Children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns

Authors: Dr Tim Moore, Morag McArthur, Dr Debbie Noble-Carr, Deborah Harcourt

In 2014, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commissioned the ACU Institute of Child Protection Studies, with colleagues from the Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University, to develop an understanding of how children perceive safety and consider it within institutional contexts.

The study explored:

  1. How children and young people conceptualise and perceive safety;
  2. Children and young people’s views on what gives rise to these perceptions;
  3. Children and young people’s perceptions of safety within institutions;
  4. What children and young people consider is already being done to respond to safety issues and risks in institutions;
  5. What children and young people consider should be done to respond to safety issues in institutions.

This report is the first of two presenting the findings of this study. It provides an overview of the major themes emerging from focus groups with children and young people aged 4-18 in the ACT, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. These participants interacted with early learning centres, schools, sporting groups, holiday camps, church groups, out-of-home care agencies and hospitals.

The findings informed the development of a national online survey of young people, which provided young people with the opportunity to share their views about safety in institutional contexts, and how well they thoughts institutions were responding to their needs (see related resources to access the second study report).

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