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Monitoring and advocacy to strengthen the wellbeing of all WA children and young people

Platform Two

Monitoring and advocacy to strengthen the wellbeing of all WA children and young people

Child Safe Organisations

Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommend that all organisations that work with children and young people are child safe, and ensure their processes  respond to complaints and concerns are child focussed.

The Commissioner continues to provide and promote resources and guidance to support Western Australian organisations to implement child safe guidelines and child-friendly complaints processes and engages with key stakeholders regarding opportunities for children and young people’s voices to be heard throughout the process.

Child protection

The Commissioner continued to review annual progress reports from government on the implementation of the recommendations made in the Commission’s  2021 Independent Review into the Department of Communities’ policies and practices in the placement of children with harmful sexual behaviours in residential care settings

The Commissioner continues to support the appointment of an Independent Advocate for children and young people in care, as well as mechanisms for  independent oversight and accreditation and will continue to advocate for their establishment.

The Safe and Supported: the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031 continues to guide the jurisdictional efforts in relation to improving the child protection system towards the shared goal of significant and sustained progress in reducing the rate of child abuse and neglect and its intergenerational impacts. The Framework was developed by the Australian and State and Territory Governments in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives and the non-government sector. The Commissioner is a member of the National Safe and Supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Group and provides significant input into the implementation and monitoring of the action plan in accordance with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

Monitoring complaints made by children and young people

Under the Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2006 (the Act), the Commissioner is required to monitor trends in complaints by children and young people to government agencies.

Every two years, the Commissioner contacts WA government agencies about their complaints systems and the complaints received from children and young people. The most recent survey results from 2021 were published in early 2022. Planning is underway on how to best to undertake the next survey in 2023-2024.

Each year, individuals contact the Commissioner seeking information or to make complaints about other agencies. In the reporting period, 74 complaints about external agencies were received. While the role of the Commissioner is not to deal with complaints made by, or on behalf of, individual young people, her team provide information and support to community members about appropriate complaints systems and advocacy services.

In line with the functions outlined in the Act, the Commissioner reviews all complaints received to identify systemic matters affecting the wellbeing of children and  young people. 

In 2023, the Commissioner reached an agreement with the Ombudsman to gain de-identified information on all complaints they receive from, or on behalf of, children and young people, to strengthen the ability of the Commissioner to identify systemic issues. 

Girls’ Wellbeing survey 

Almost 1,000 young people took part in an online survey around girls’ wellbeing in late 2022.

To further understand the findings from the Speaking Out Survey 2021, in which female students consistently rated their wellbeing below that of their male peers,  young people were asked questions around gender transition, gender equality and self-esteem.

The survey responses have been analysed and collated, with a report to be released in mid-2023. Click here to view.

Profile of Children and Young People in WA

The annual Profile of Children and Young People in Western Australia was published in early 2023.

The report provides a demographic profile of WA’s 634,000 children and young people. It includes a focus on children and young people who experience vulnerability and hardship, such as those in the juvenile justice system, in out-of home care, with disability and living in poverty. 

The report is a component of the Commissioner’s Wellbeing Monitoring Framework and can be used by government and non-government organisations to help them allocate resources for children and young people across WA. Click here to view.

Commissioners and Guardians Group (ACCG)

The ACCG is a coalition of independent Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates for children and young people that aims to:
promote the rights of children and young people, including their right to participate in decisions relating to them, as articulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • ensure the best interests of children and young people are considered in the development of policies and programs 
  • give voice to the views of, and encourage direct consultation with, children and young people on matters that affect them 
  • encourage systemic improvement, informed by evidence-based research, in areas that impact on the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people.

In the past year, the ACCG met three times and supported cohesive statements on youth detention and the Uluru Statement from the Heart. At their April 2023 meeting, they endorsed the 11 Advocacy Priorities developed by the First Nations Children’s Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates Caucus (FNCCGA Caucus) as the  priorities for the ACCG. 

The ACCG is supported by a Policy Officers group, who meet before and after meetings of the ACCG and First Nations Caucus. Their role is to action priorities of the  groups and includes representatives from all Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates.

Public commentary

There are many ways in which the Commissioner advocates for WA’s children and young people, raising awareness of the issues affecting their wellbeing and  encouraging positive change in our society.

The Commissioner makes public comment in the media where it is in the best interests of WA children and young people. In 2022−23, the Commissioner advocated for children and young people in the youth justice system and promoted issues around education, the wellbeing of young women, access to childcare for children with  complex needs and disabilities, and to encourage young people to participate in the Talking About Vaping survey.

The Commissioner’s message reached a wide audience through five opinion pieces in the West Australian newspaper and interviews with WA Today, ABC, Radio 6PR, Bumma Bippera Media, and channels Seven, Nine and Ten. The Commissioner also maintains an active presence on social media and networking platforms. 

First Nations Children’s Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates (FNCCGA) Caucus 

In January 2023, the eight First Nations Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates established a Caucus of the ACCG. The decision by the Australian Capital Territory to establish a new Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People will increase the number to nine.

At their inaugural face to face meeting in January 2023, they developed 11 advocacy priorities to guide collective efforts to improve outcomes, not only for First Nations children and young people, but for all children and young people.

The Caucus provides First Nations Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates the opportunity to provide cultural support and advice to each other and the ACCG.

In the 2022-23 financial year, the Caucus met face to face on two occasions and had two online meetings.

The Caucus meets in advance of the Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians Group (ACCG).


Explore the 2022-23 Annual Report