Support National Child Protection Week: 6 to 12 September

Published: Monday 31st August 2015

National Child Protection Week is from 6 to 12 September.  All members of ACU can play a role in keeping children safe.

At ACU, we believe that:

  • All children and vulnerable adults who interact with ACU staff, students and others on ACU sites or within the wider community have the right to feel safe and to be safe.
  • Achieving a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults requires the commitment of and appropriate action by every member of the University.
Child abuse and neglect is one of Australia's most significant social problems.  According to data gathered and reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2013-14, there were 40,844 children found to have been harmed or be at risk of harm through emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse. This number refers to confirmed cases reported to child protection agencies. The number of children actually experiencing abuse across Australia may be much higher as many incidences of child abuse may go unreported.

Child abuse is rarely a one-off incident, is always harmful, and far too often the damage caused can last a lifetime. Child abuse and neglect is recognised as one of the greatest barriers and threats to the wellbeing of Australian children, young people and the next generation of children and adults.  It can have a significant effect on mental, emotional and physical health, levels of violence and crime, addiction, educational attainment and employment.

Events such as National Child Protection week provide the opportunity to raise awareness about how we can play a role in keeping children safe.

Reporting incidences of harm or suspected harm is one way that you can help keep children safe.  The relevant contacts are:
  • the Police (telephone 000) in an emergency situation if a child is being (or in imminent danger of being) harmed
  • the relevant state or territory child protection agency listed on the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) website if child abuse or neglect is witnessed or suspected
  • if the incident occurs at ACU or a staff member, student or other person associated with ACU is affected, contact one of the following, AND, if applicable, the Police or child protection agency:
    o    ACU Emergency Line on 8888 (from any internal ACU phone) or 1300 729 452 (from an external/mobile phone), or
    o    National Child Protection Manager (03 99533364) or HR (02 9701 4222)
    o    A person in authority within your organisational unit, preferably a member of Executive Planning Group.
Another action you can take to assist children and young people to be safe in institutions in the future, is to encourage children and young people aged 10 to 18 in Australia to participate in the “Australian Survey of Kids and Young People” (ASK-YP survey).  This national online survey asks for their views on safety in institutional contexts, and is open until the end of September 2015.  The survey is part of a study being conducted by ACU’s Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS), commissioned by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.  

ICPS is based within the Learning Sciences Institute Australia, and aims to enhance the well-being of children, young people and families through quality research, evaluation, training and community education.  ICPS also recently launched its report from the first part of this study: ‘Taking Us Seriously: Children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns’.  It reports on the findings of focus groups conducted across Australia with 121 children and young people aged four to 18 years about their views and perceptions of children’s safety in institutions.  

For further information in relation to the following:
  • The National Child Protection Week campaign: refer to the NAPCAN website.
  • ACU policy and procedures about protecting children and vulnerable adults: contact Lisa Carroli, ACU’s National Child Protection Manager on email or ext 3364.
  • ICPS website, which includes its current and previous projects and publications.
If you or someone close to you has been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, the following organisations may be able to help you: