Help-seeking needs and gaps for preventing child sexual abuse

Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University

March 2017

ISBN 978-1-925622-02-7

Executive Summary

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) commissioned the Institute of Child Protection Studies at Australian Catholic University to carry out a research project, aiming to explore:

  • the service needs and help-seeking behaviours of professionals, parents and community members concerned about the behaviour of an adult who is exhibiting potentially sexually harmful behaviour towards a child (including grooming, sexually inappropriate online behaviour and use of child pornography)

  • the help-seeking needs and behaviours of professionals, parents and community members concerned about a child who is exhibiting potentially sexual, harmful behaviour

  • the help-seeking needs and behaviours of individuals concerned that they may sexually harm or otherwise abuse a child

  • the functions and effectiveness of existing services tasked with responding to the needs of these target groups, including the knowledge, skills and abilities required of practitioners responding to target groups’ service needs.

This research project will make an important contribution to informing the Royal Commission about how to better prevent child sexual abuse, including child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.