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Innovative resource for safeguarding children

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It is timely that the Australian Catholic University (ACU) has launched an innovative web-portal that provides safeguarding initiatives and preventative approaches to child sexual abuse within organisations.

The Safeguarding Children and Young People Portal is a dedicated website to link external organisations and partners to accessible resources, programs and modules.

The portal will provide:

  • Up-to-date relevant research, journals and other literature
  • Networking opportunities for professionals to collaborate on knowledge and expertise
  • Training programs and modules
  • Evidence-informed templates and practice tools for organisations.

ACU has established expertise in the area of protecting children, including a dedicated research unit, the ACU Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS). ICPS has worked closely with the research program of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, forging partnerships with other academic institutions to deliver valuable insights about children’s safety in institutions.

Practitioners, policy makers and organisations will benefit most from the resources on the website. This includes educational institutions, faith-based organisations, sporting bodies, and any professional that deals with children.

ICPS Director Professor Daryl Higgins said there was a strong need for leaders of organisations to create an environment of transparency and accountability to stamp out an institutional culture of abuse.

“Leaders play a vital role in keeping children safe in their organisations. Our research consistently shows the importance of setting clear guidelines and policies that prevent offending behaviour and to address it if it does occur.

“This work demonstrates ACU’s continuing commitment to taking a leadership role in the community to take action to keep children safe and protected from harm,” he said.

Child Safety and Governance Executive Manager at YMCA Australia Olivia Brown said organisations working with children and young people welcomed the new resources and contemporary research through the launch of the portal.

“We are so fortunate to have world-leading information available to us in Australia, and with the credibility and integrity of the Institute of Child Protection Studies’ work, organisations can be confident they have access to leading practice resources.

“It comes at the perfect time with pending recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the National Statement of Principles for Child Safe Organisations,” she said.

The portal will continue to expand and develop, with additional features introduced in 2018. These include a community of practice and organisational self-assessment program, to assist organisational leaders to assess the safety climate of their programs and services.

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