Both the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse and the Royal Commission into the Don Dale Detention Centre will hand down findings in the coming financial year that will highlight actions required to address the risk of harm to some of our most vulnerable children and young people. The Commissioner will undertake a range of initiatives to enhance continuing work in leading the development of child safe organisation principles in WA and build on the findings of these important inquiries including: supporting development of effective responses for children displaying harmful sexual behaviours towards other children and development of an Oversight Mapping Report to analyse current oversight of key services for children and young people and identify areas for improvement.
Vulnerable children report
While most children and young people are faring well in WA, a significant cohort continues to experience poorer outcomes across a range of areas leading to the need for expensive interventions and a loss of productivity. The Commissioner will use the volume of work gathered over the last 10 years to develop a report to Parliament on how vulnerable children and young people are supported within WA. This report will be enhanced with the inclusion of the voices of children and young people with lived experience of vulnerability.
Understanding and reporting on quality trend line data is essential if policies are to be tailored to identify the changing needs of children and young people and guide service delivery to ensure effective outcomes for the investment. The Commissioner will continue to partner with the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia to develop a framework for monitoring children and young people’s wellbeing, including the need for a comprehensive survey to understand ongoing and emerging issues of concern.
Growing number of Aboriginal children and young people in youth justice and out-of-home care systems
The growing number of Aboriginal children and young people in the youth justice and out-ofhome care systems continues to be a significant issue. The significant proportion of Aboriginal children and young people in regional and remote areas requires greater attention to engaging and supporting children and young people beyond the metropolitan area. The voices of these vulnerable children and young people will be used to better direct policy and programs to improve outcomes.
Priorities for 2017–18 in addition to those outlined above include releasing the findings of the school and learning consultation and continuing work on child safe organisations.
“If people feel respected, then you feel like, you get the feeling like some people really want to help you.”
18 year old male – Youth Justice Consultation