Safeguarding Capabilities in Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

A paper investigating exploratory factor analysis of a scale measuring safeguarding capabilities in youth-serving organisation workers

Authors: Douglas Russell, Professor Daryl Higgins

Abstract: Media reports and government enquiries have shone a spotlight on institutional child sexual abuse globally. With youth-serving organisations seeking to identify how to improve policies and procedures developed to protect children, a gap exists in research and organisational quality assurance procedures. A new tool is needed to measure the capability of workers to implement and support effective child-safeguarding policies and practices. To address this, our aim was to develop the Safeguarding Capabilities in Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Scale. Participants (n = 345) from a range of youth-serving sectors in Australia answered 128 questions. Using exploratory factor analysis to assess the underlying factor structure and refine the item pool, items loaded onto four factors. Reliability coefficients ranged from .68 to .95. Results showed that knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy to take action, and awareness are all key capabilities related to creating conditions of safety for children and young people and preventing child sexual abuse in youth-serving organisations.

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