Research finds lack of coordination in child sexual abuse prevention

15 March 2017

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a new research report that finds there are limited programs and services to help prevent child sexual abuse and those that do exist are not well coordinated.

The Royal Commission contracted researchers from the Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University, to examine the potential service needs of a range of target groups, with a focus on individuals concerned that they or someone they know may sexually harm or abuse a child.

The research report, Help-seeking needs and gaps for preventing child sexual abuse, finds there is no coordination of prevention programs for these target groups. It also suggests that the development of programs are often unregulated and their outcomes under-evaluated.

It also finds there is a lack of confidence in the community about how to recognise and respond to concerns about child sexual abuse.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said according to the research, there is a lack of access to information, education and programs that focus on preventing child sexual abuse.

 “The report also suggests that there is a gap in support for individuals who have problematic sexual thoughts about children but have not offended.”

The research suggests that providing services to this group is critical in order to prevent child sexual abuse.

“This research will help inform the Royal Commission’s final recommendations which will be delivered to the Federal Government at the end of the year,” Mr Reed said.

“Importantly, this research will add to our body of knowledge around how child sexual abuse in institutions may be prevented.”

Read the report.

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