The Australian Human Rights Commission has worked with the National Office for Child Safety to develop a guide to help children and young people understand child sexual abuse, and how to seek help.
The guide was launched today to support Australia’s first ever National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse.
National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds said: “Child sexual abuse is a horrific crime and ensuring that children know their rights to safety, recognise the signs of child sexual abuse and where they can get help is an important step forward. I welcomed the invitation to consult with children on their views about this guide”.
“I am passionate about keeping all children safe from abuse, as well as their right to be heard on matters of importance to them, and these consultations gave us the chance to do both.
“For too long, children have lacked a seat at the table in policy making and I am heartened by seeing their voices come to life in this guide. Going forward, I want to see this happen more because clearly we need to listen to children and young people when developing policies and support services that affect their lives”.
Senior Project Officer at The Commission, Dr Amy Graham, who led the Commission’s development of the guide, said: “In leading the consultations with school children, I was so impressed at their interest in being included in policy development and sharing their suggestions so freely.
“The activities in the guide were something that kids really liked, and which helped them to go back and read the guide if there were areas they hadn’t understood. One child, aged 11, told me ‘I liked being part of something so important and I learnt lots of ways to reach out for help if I need it’”.
The consultations took place in three South Australian primary schools with children aged 8–13 years, who had received parent or guardian consent to participate. Specific target groups in the consultations included children with disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The development of the National Strategy was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The National Strategy is a 10-year framework to help the federal, and state and territory governments to respond in a consistent and coordinated way to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse. Two four-year action plans will support the first phase of the ten-year National Strategy.
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