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The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has set in motion a number of systemic and organizational approaches to identify and respond to child sexual abuse. These include increased child abuse awareness, developing and enhancing child-safe organizational cultures and policies and more thorough screening and supervision of staff in child and youth serving organizations. Although these advances should be applauded, many of the concerns that children and young people have raised about interpersonal safety have not been fully addressed. There is therefore a risk that children’s physical, relational, generational, and organizational powerlessness are reinforced through child-safe practices that restrict their meaningful participation, ignore their agency and capacity and fail to respond to their felt safety needs or wishes. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative research project conducted with 121 Australian children and young people and presents their perspectives on issues of vulnerability and the ways that they would like adults and institutions to respond to their safety concerns. The value of adult-child alliances, of formal mechanisms that are child-friendly and accessible and having external agencies monitor and review institutional strategies to preventing harm are discussed.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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