Royal Commission releases report on effectiveness of OOHC practices in preventing child sexual abuse

16 February 2015

The Royal Commission has released a report examining issues related to the effectiveness of practices in out-of-home care in preventing child sexual abuse within institutions.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said the report, prepared by the Parenting Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, makes valuable findings which will be used to shape the Royal Commission’s final recommendations.

"The Royal Commission was set up to investigate where systems have failed to protect children, a core area of our work is also recommending ways to improve them," he said.

The report examines practices that help prevent child sexual abuse in out-of-home care, and the evidence around ways to reduce child-on-child sexual abuse, as well as abuse perpetrated by caregivers. However, it concludes that there are very few studies that have tested which practices or types of programs lead to decreased rates of sexual abuse of children.

"This research, combined with the submissions made to the Royal Commission’s 2013 issues paper Prevention of Sexual Abuse in Out-of-Home Care, and a public roundtable in April 2014, are important sources of information leading up to the public hearing on this matter in March this year," Mr Reed said.

Read the report.

About the report

Scoping Review: Evaluations of out-of-home care practice elements that aim to prevent child sexual abuse

Key findings include:

  • There is very limited, rigorous evidence available about the effectiveness of practices or programmes that prevent child sexual abuse in out-of-home care.
  • Most of the research available relates to training, support and/or treatment for sexually abusive and/or ‘acting out’ children in out-of-home care and their caregivers.

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