Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit focuses on implementing education and training strategies to safeguard children and young people and prevent abuse. The unit will provide initial training for participants to educate them to better understand the learning needs of children and young people and so be able to support them and intervene where appropriate. It will also provide guidance for children and young people in enabling them to develop their own strategies to prevent, manage and seek help when confronted with risk situations. The over-arching aim of the unit is to develop students' knowledge of the specifics of educating children and young people about sexuality and respectful relationships, thereby assisting in their awareness to seek help if necessary.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - demonstrate an understanding of age specific child and adolescent developmental and learning guidelines and milestones, to be able to educate children and young people appropriately in being aware of and responding to situations of sexual and other forms of abuse (GA1, GA6, GA8; SCYP 4.1 5.1, 5.3, 5.4) 

LO2 - demonstrate skills in engaging with children and young people and a critical understanding of the knowledge, values and skills which facilitate the participation of children and young people in seeking help for risks of harm (GA5, GA6, GA10; SCYP 4.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4)

LO3 - analyse relevant theoretical perspectives related to working with children and young people who have experienced abuse and the impact of this abuse on other children, staff, families and the institution/organisation and apply these in implementing appropriate responses to the immediate and ongoing needs of the individuals and community (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA8; SCYP 6.1, 6.2)

LO4 - critically evaluate abuse-prevention programs; identify and apply effective strategies to design and implement context-specific prevention strategies and education programs for children and young people (e.g in relationships, sexuality, safety and help-seeking) (GA3, GA6, GA8. SCYP 5.3, 5.4, 5.5).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Alongside the learning outcomes for this unit, on successful completion, students should have developed the ability to: 

ACU SCYP 4. Facilitate children and young people’s engagement in child-centred participatory processes, including those that enable and respond to disclosures and complaints

4.1 Demonstrates an understanding of child and adolescent development and the needs of different groups of children and young people and applies them in their participatory processes

ACU SCYP 5. Apply sex/relationship education and sexual abuse prevention models to address the safety needs of children and young people 

5.1 Knows about typical sexual development of children and adolescents

5.2 Demonstrates skills in being able to talk in developmentally appropriate and safe ways with young people about sexuality, relationships, safety, and help-seeking

5.3 Addresses the cultural safety  associated with particular groups of children and young people including those who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, who are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and the safety of those with disabilities

5.4 Knows the learning needs of children and young people to prevent, manage and seek help when exposed to risks of harm

5.5 Applies models within their organisation, and embeds skill development and accountabilities within their institutional/organisational processes for ensuring the sex/relationship education needs of children and young people are met (e.g., supervision of staff and volunteers)

ACU SCYP 6. Respond appropriately to the ongoing needs of children and young people who have experienced abuse and manage the impact of this abuse on other children and young people, staff, families and the institution/organisation

6.1 Knows the resources available to help adults ask for—and respond to—the views of children and young people about safety within organisations

6.2 Knows and demonstrates an appreciation of the impacts of abuse on children and young people, and the vicarious impacts for other children, families, staff and the institution/organisation.


Topics will include:

  • Reviewing age specific child and adolescent developmental and learning guidelines
  • Developing skills in engaging with children and young people, particularly to facilitate and support their voices to be heard
  • Facilitating participants’ personal developmental needs in relation to lack of knowledge, or anxiety in communicating with children and young people about sexual issues
  • Developing programs to assist children and young people with relationships, sexuality and related issues, including in the home, amongst peers and with trusted adults
  • Developing a critical understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to facilitate children and young people in recognising potential signs and situations of risk of harm
  • Developing skills to assist children and young people to be able to seek help appropriately and with strategies to get help for their friends
  • Developing skills in prevention and understanding their role particularly through application of the Public Health approach
  • Developing an understanding of principles underlying the development of a protective and preventative organisational culture, such as appropriate behaviour and boundaries between adults and children and young people
  • Developing a culture of zero tolerance of abuse and processes for reporting all occurrences, including adult “grooming” behaviours and boundary violations
  • Analysing and evaluating relevant theoretical perspectives related to working with children and young people who have experienced abuse
  • Understanding the impact of this abuse on other children, staff, families and the institution/organization.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode (i.e. delivered online and in face-to-face contexts) and uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge and skills associated with implementing education and training strategies to safeguard children and young people and prevent abuse. Students will explore key issues and develop a deeper contextualised understanding of how to design prevention programs that reflect age specific child and adolescent developmental and learning guidelines and milestones through online asynchronous activities and where appropriate synchronous online webinars. Where appropriate, part or all of the unit may be delivered face to face.

The use of LEO will be integral to the unit. Other activities may include lectures and reading, self-directed learning, participant critical reflection against relevant professional standards  with particular reference to case studies, engagement with the literature, dialogue and interrogation of concepts, theories and practices, and the application to current professional contexts.

Directed study will include activities such lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours is private study, practice and assessment preparation.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed above. The focus of the assessments enable participants to draw on their professional knowledge, unit content and relevant literature to explore the contemporary issues relating to education and prevention programs that safeguard children in institutional/organizational  contexts. By synthesizing the key learnings through the assessments task, participants will develop a strategically focused response agenda relevant to their professional setting. 

The total assessment will be equivalent to 5,000 words (Graduate Certificate). In order to pass this unit, students will be required to submit and pass all assessment tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Essay:

Critically analyse the literature with regard to educating children and young people on how to seek help with regard to sexual and other forms of abuse. (2500 words)


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10 

Assessment Task 2: Project Plan. Develop a program for educating staff and children and young people in how to communicate openly about issues of abuse. (2500 words)


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA8.

Representative texts and references

Erooga, M. (Ed). (2012). Creating safer organisations: Practical steps to prevent the abuse of children by those working with them.Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Fraser, J.A., Mathews B.P., Walsh, K.M., Chen, L., & Dunne, M. (2010). Factors influencing child abuse and neglect recognition and reporting by nurses: A multivariate analysisInternational Journal of Nursing Studies, pp146-153.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Heerde, J., Roche, S., & O’Leary, P. Our safety counts: Children and young people’s perceptions of safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns

Moore, T. (2017). Protection through participation: Involving children in child-safe organisations. Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Saunders, V., & McArthur, M. (2017). Help-seeking needs and gaps for preventing child sexual abuse. A Report for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS) Australian Catholic University.

Walsh, K.M., Berthelsen, D, Nicholson, J., Brandon, L., Stevens, J., & Rachele, J.N., (2013.) Child sexual abuse prevention education: A review of school policy and curriculum provision in AustraliaOxford Review of Education, pp649-680.

Walsh, K.M., Rassafiani, M., Mathews, B.P., Farrell, A., & Butler, D.A. (2010). Teachers' attitudes towards reporting child sexual abuse: problems with existing research leading to new scale developmentJournal of Child Sexual Abuse, pp310-336.

Walsh, K.M., Bridgstock, R., Farrell, A., Rassafiani, M., & Schweitzer, R. (2008). Case, teacher and school characteristics influencing teachers' detection and reporting of child physical abuse and neglect: Results from an Australian surveyChild Abuse and Neglect, pp983-993.

White, C., Shanley, D.C., Zimmer-Gembeck, M.J., Lines, K.A., Walsh, K.M., & Hawkins, R. (2016). Cluster randomised-control trial for an Australian child protection education program: Study protocol for the Learn to be Safe with Emmy and Friends(TM),BMC Public Health pp1-7.


The Australian Council for Children and Youth Organisation’s Safeguarding Children program;

CFCA resources on organisational issues: and-strategies

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