ACWA Responds to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – OOHC Consultation Paper

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its Consultation Paper for out-of-home care (OOHC) in March 2016. ACWA’s response contains a total of 13 recommendations, including:

  • The development of a therapeutic care framework to underpin the provision of OOHC services in all care settings, including residential, foster or kin care.
  • Raising the age that young people stay in care from 18 years to at least 21, and 25 years of age in circumstances where significant trauma has occurred.
  • Establishing national standards in the carer assessment process and training required by those who are accredited to assess carers.
  • A pilot project be conducted to test the collection of data in the sector around the prevalence of child sexual abuse and its outcomes, with an aim to facilitate data collection nationally.
  • That a national approach be developed for building a stronger workforce for the OOHC sector.

The submission emphasises the importance of a child focused culture, both within individual organisations and across the sector as a whole, as pivotal to the prevention of sexual abuse of children in OOHC. It also stresses that “culture trumps regulation”:

Regulations are critical in setting minimum standards and the imperatives for compliance in managing an intrinsically high-risk sector with vulnerable clients, however, they will never guarantee that abuse will not occur. It’s impossible to regulate for every risk situation and even vigilant, regulation compliant services experience critical incidents. (P.12)

Read ACWA's full response here.