The responsibility of keeping a child safe should involve listening to a child, hearing their story, and responding to their concerns. You might need to talk to children and young people about sensitive and uncomfortable issues and experiences.
Adults and institutions need to take children and young people’s views and ideas seriously. This is a child-centred approach. Institutions also need to act on children’s views as part of a whole-of-organisational strategy to develop safer environments. An organisation with well-developed policies and safety plans on child-safe practice and risk management can support adults to respond to instances of child abuse and support the victims.
Child-centred practice involves both information sharing and collaboration with the child at the centre of the case-management process.
Organisations need to recognise that there are ongoing and real risks to children. Listen to children about how they feel. Be alert to and proactive about the risks including to those in your own practice as well as those form other staff, families and other children.
Children and staff can be protected from allegations of abuse or opportunities by avoiding situations where staff are alone with children, particularly in cross-gender situations; ensuring good parental supervision and good note-taking practices; and working with children in full view of other responsible adults.
Listen carefully and acknowledge what a child and young person tells you. Remind them there are no secrets. Listening without judgement will help them feel more comfortable in sharing difficult or embarrassing information.
What to say when children disclose something
Incorporating therapeutic approaches
Many different kinds of therapeutic therapies are used across various disciplines. They include psychoanalysis, behaviour therapy, cognitive therapy, humanistic therapy, multisystemic therapy therapy, and integrative or holistic therapy. Whatever type of therapy you use in your practice, try to address the needs of both the protective parent and the child. Therapeutic responses to children exposed to domestic and family violence should include working with the protective parent and other siblings.
Therapeutic therapies are offered in clinical settings, but they can also be offered in supported playgroups or childcare settings. They have been shown to strengthen a child’s attachment to a parent, increase emotional support available to a child and leads to improved outcomes for the child.
Facts about child sexual abuse and activities for staff and volunteers to work through.Read more
How to move from a ‘reporting’ culture to a ‘responding’ culture to improve child safety and wellbeing.Read more
It’s not just about ‘weeding out’ potential offenders, it’s about the response of the whole organisation.Read more
Read our research on safeguarding children and young people in institutions, including reports, articles, webinars and child-friendly animations.Read more
An animation of young people in residential care talking about what makes them feel safe.Learn more
This website may contain material that is confronting and disturbing, particularly for survivors of sexual abuse, violence or childhood trauma. Issues raised might cause you distress.
If you are feeling distressed, seek support:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
beyondblue 1300 224 636
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
ReachOut 1800 633 937
If you believe a child or young person is in immediate danger, or you are in immediate danger, call 000.