- $4.3 million committed for WA Centre for the Pursuit of Excellence in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect and contribution to a National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
- Third annual update demonstrates the McGowan Government's progress on responding to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
- WA progress report shows a further 127 recommendations have been implemented, with work commenced on remaining recommendations
The McGowan Government has committed $4.3 million to the WA Centre for the Pursuit of Excellence in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect and contribute towards a National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse along with other States and Territories.
The funding, made available as part of the Mid-year Review, underpins the McGowan Government's commitment to implementing recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse ahead of the release of the third annual progress report.
The Pursuit of Excellence in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect is a partnership between the University of South Australia's Australian Centre for Child Protection and Parkerville Children and Youth Care.
Sexual abuse and the impacts of abuse-related trauma continue to be a significant issue across Australia, with up to 27 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men reporting having experienced childhood sexual abuse.
The new investment comes after the Royal Commission identified a need for better evidence on effective responses to complex trauma and high-quality workforce development in the provision of evidence-based therapeutic services for abuse-related trauma.
It will expand activities of the WA Centre to include developing responses for children and young people who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours, and allow for these responses to be developed and implemented in a culturally sensitive way to ensure Aboriginal people and communities are appropriately supported.
It will also complement existing work to develop a local model to respond to the treatment needs of children and young people with complex trauma, as well as increase the capacity of the specialised workforce to understand, respond, assess and treat the harmful impacts of child abuse and trauma.
Key Aboriginal stakeholders, the Commissioner for Children and Young People, the Western Australian Police Force and the departments of Justice, Health and Communities will continue to work with the WA Centre to meet the needs of Western Australian children and young people.
In February next year, the centre will release a free three-part training course for the specialist child protection sector that covers both online and interactive learning and is designed to bring real on-the-job learning into the academic space.
The contribution to the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse will ensure WA has critical input into national leadership on these issues.
The third annual WA progress report will outline the State Government's progress in implementing a further 127 recommendations, and commencing all remaining recommendations*.
This work has led to a number of key achievements, including:
- tabling of the Parliamentary Commissioner Amendment (Reportable Conduct) Bill 2020 as a green bill for public consultation;
- commencement of the High Risk Offenders Act 2020 to enable the dangerous sex offenders scheme to be applied to a broader cohort and prevent further harm to children, including child exploitation and online child sex offending;
- WA signing on to the Connect for Safety solution to strengthen information sharing across jurisdictions; and
- 137 local governments and 38 sport and recreation organisations being consulted on the National Redress Scheme to ensure that redress can be provided to as many eligible survivors as possible.
* The only exception is recommendation 7.11, which recommends the periodic review of the operation of the reportable conduct scheme, which cannot commence until it is in operation.
Comments attributed to Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk:
"The McGowan Government is committed to supporting Western Australian children and people who have suffered abuse by reducing stigma, promoting help-seeking and guiding best-practice services that support survivors' recovery.
"The WA Centre for the Pursuit of Excellence in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect will provide training, clinical supervision and the community readiness supports needed to scale up high-quality and evidenced-based responses across WA.
"In bridging the gap between evidence and practice, this centre's work will be dedicated to improving outcomes for children, and creating a safer State for children now and into the future."
Comments attributed to Australian Centre for Child Protection co-director Professor Leah Bromfield:
"This investment is an opportunity to transform the WA service landscape, bringing together research and clinical excellence in WA to enhance treatment and responses to sexual abuse and harmful sexual behaviours.
"The work will increase the State's capacity to provide effective intervention across WA with approaches designed for the WA service context.
"By focusing on effective treatment for children and young people, the initiative will help prevent the lifelong and devastating impacts of trauma."
Minister's office - 6552 6600