The need for organisations to have and act consistently according to sound child-safe principles was highlighted last night by visiting academic Professor Stephen Smallbone.
Griffith University psychologist and author Professor Smallbone presented at a senior leadership event hosted by Anglicare and Curtin University for the Royal Commission Support Services in Perth.
Professor Smallbone discussed his work in child sexual abuse prevention and his evidence at two public hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
We are seeing through the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse where historically – as well as more recently – organisations' policies and procedures, or the lack of them, have failed to protect children and the profound, lifelong damage that this has done.
I am currently finalising a project to gain a better understanding of how we are faring in creating child-safe environments in Western Australia.
Working with a reference group, the child-safe organisations project included a review of the existing work being done by organisations to undertake child-safe principles and practices to understand what was being done, and where there is potential for improvement.
We have also consulted with 365 children and young people, aged between four and 18 years, about what helps them to feel safe when they are participating in organisations or activities outside of home.
There are clear messages for organisations coming from the views of children and young people and I will be releasing this report soon.
Acting Commissioner for Children and Young People