Research projects under this theme explore the following questions:

  • Why do some individuals sexually abuse children?

  • What are their characteristics and motivations?

  • What are the known risk factors for perpetration?

  • How does child sexual abuse occur in institutions?

  • What are the causes, the barriers and the enablers in terms of victim characteristics and background, the physical and cultural environments of organisations, systemic loopholes and community attitudes?

  • Does the specific type (e.g. faith-based) or function (e.g. out-of-home care) of an institution impact the risk of child sexual abuse to children? Who perpetrates institutional child sexual abuse? Who are the victims of institutional child sexual abuse?

Project name Conducting agency

Child Exploitation Material in the Context of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

Conducted by the University of Tasmania

Taking us seriously: children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns

Conducted by the Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University

Feeling safe, being safe: What is important to children and young people with disability and high support needs about safety in institutional settings?

Conducted by Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University

Our safety counts: children and young people’s perceptions of safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns

Conducted by Institute of Child Protection Studies and Australian Catholic University

Scoping study for research into the prevalence of child abuse in Australia

Conducted by Social Policy Research Centre, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Queensland University of Technology, Australian Centre for Child Protection

Evidence and frameworks for understanding perpetrators of institutional child sexual abuse

Conducted by University of Adelaide

Risk profiles for institutional child sexual abuse Conducted by Professor Keith Kaufman and Marcus Erooga

Disability and child sexual abuse in institutional contexts

Conducted by Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Dr Sarah Wayland and Ms Gabrielle Hindmarsh

The role of organisational culture in child sexual abuse in institutional contexts

Conducted by Donald Palmer, in collaboration with Valerie Feldman and Gemma McKibbin

Safe and sound: Exploring the safety of young people in residential care

Conducted by Dr Tim Moore, Professor Morag McArthur, Steven Roche, Dr Jodi Death and Professor Clare Tilbury

Assessing the different dimensions and degrees of risk of child sexual abuse in institutions

Conducted by Professors Patrick Parkinson and Judy Cashmore

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and child sexual abuse in institutional contexts

Conducted by Patricia Anderson, Muriel Bamblett, Dawn Bessarab, Leah Bromfield, Sharni Chan, Gabriel Maddock Karen Menzies, Margaret O’Connell, Glenn Pearson, Roz Walker and Michael Wright

Child sexual abuse in Australian institutional contexts 2008–13: Findings from administrative data

Conducted by Leah Bromfield, Craig Hirte, Olivia Octoman and Ilan Katz


Child sexual abuse in institutional contexts: The reliability of police data, nature of allegations reported to police, and factors driving reporting rates

Conducted by Samantha Parkinson, Kerry Lewig, Catia Malvaso, Fiona Arney, Ilan Katz and BJ Newton