Gabrielle Hunt, PhD Candidate; Professor Daryl Higgins, Institute of Child Protection Studies


Porticus via Stichting Benevolentia Foundation


  • To assess the strengths and limitations of outcomes measures of interventions that address child maltreatment and violence in institutional settings.
  • To provide an updated tool that program evaluators can use to review measures of safeguarding and child abuse prevention outcomes in institutional settings.


In the important work of supporting children and families with complex personal and socio-economic issues, policy-makers and practitioners need to find and run the programs that are most likely to work. An evidence gap map of studies of interventions up to 2019 had been previously developed to address child abuse and maltreatment and violence in institutional settings.

A newly updated Evidence and Gap Map (EGM) collated rigorous experimental research on what works to prevent and respond to institutional child maltreatment. The map shows where there are studies of what works and where there are not. Although the body of evidence is growing, there are still significant gaps.

This project provided new insights into the usefulness of the measures used in experimental research on institutional child maltreatment.

Project details

This project collated the measures used in the studies that informed the EGM, and assessed how improvement in outcomes is conceptualised. Evidence on the reliability and validity of the measures was reviewed. Many studies focussed on 'proxy' measures, such as children's knowledge, but these measures may not accurately predict better safety.

Further documentation will be provided in due course.

Projected community impact

This work culminated in a 'tool box' that can be used by program evaluators to review the effectiveness of available measures that have been used to assess prevention and intervention activities. The tool box will also be useful for funding bodies who are seeking to enhance further knowledge on gaps and strengths in safeguarding practices in institutions.


Hunt, G. (2023). Toolbox of Measures Used in Experimental Research on Institutional Child Maltreatment: Technical Report. Australian Catholic University.

Project completed

October 2023 - Jan 2024


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