Feeling safe, being safe: What is important to children and young people with disability and high support needs about safety in institutional settings?

Sally Robinson

Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University

February 2016

ISBN 978-1-925289-41-1

Executive summary

This report explores what helps children and young people with disability and high support needs to feel and be safe in institutional settings. The study addressed the following questions:

  1. What does ‘being safe’ mean to children and young people with disability and high support needs?

  2. What helps and hinders children and young people with disability and high support needs in feeling and being safe in institutional settings?

  3. How do people who provide support perceive and respond to children’s and young people’s concerns about their own safety?

It is a small-scale study linked to a larger research project about children’s and young people’s views on safety, Having a Say: Exploring issues of safety with children and young people, undertaken by Australian Catholic University (ACU). The study was deemed necessary to ensure the inclusion of children and young people with disability who are unable to participate in research without specifically designed methods and additional research support. All of the children and young people who participated in this study had cognitive impairments, and many had multiple impairments.