Victims/survivors’ perceptions of helpful institutional responses to incidents of institutional child sexual abuse

Stream: Child safety and protection
Date: Monday, 9 September 2019
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.10 pm


Between 2013 and 2017, the Australian Government conducted an inquiry into child sexual abuse that occurred in institutional settings. This paper is based on qualitative research conducted with survivors to identify key replicable characteristics of supportive and effective institutional responses to incidents of child sexual abuse, as part of research originally conducted for the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. While most research literature focuses on the deficit in response to institutional sexual abuse, there is a very small body of literature that investigates helpful institutional responses. This paper explores the perspectives of nine victims/survivors on what they considered to be elements of an effective or helpful institutional response to an incident of institutional child sexual abuse. It discusses the findings in the context of the factors proposed in the literature as helping to generate a more effective response to institutional child sexual abuse. The paper’s findings are relevant for policies and research on best practice in institutional responses to child sexual abuse.


Gianfranco Giuntoli (Presenter), Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Gianfranco is a Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. Gianfranco’s research interests lie in the study of quality of life, with a particular focus on how social and policy factors affect people’s intra-personal and inter-personal experiences of well-being and resilience, and the connections between employment transitions and mental well-being. Gianfranco has extensive experience of undertaking research using a variety of research methods, specialising in mixed methods and qualitative research.

Hazel Blunden (Presenter), Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Hazel is currently a Research Associate at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW where she is working on a variety of housing-related and other research projects. Hazel Blunden is a project manager and social policy specialist with more than 15 years’ experience working on commissioned research projects for NGOs, local and state government, managing projects from inception to conclusion.

Hazel has a particular interest in housing policy issues. She is an AHURI author and has a published a range of book chapters and articles on housing and homelessness issues.

BJ Newton, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
BJ is a Research Associate at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. BJ’s current and recent projects are in the areas of child protection, education, poverty, domestic violence and homelessness, and Indigenous policy. BJ's particular area of interest is in developing the knowledge and evidence-base of Aboriginal people from their perspective, particularly in the area of child protection. BJ's PhD investigated Aboriginal parents’ and workers’ perceptions on child safety and wellbeing. BJ is a proud Aboriginal Australian whose family comes from Erambie Aboriginal Reserve at West Cowra on Wiradjuri Country.

Ilan Katz, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Professor Katz joined the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW in January 2005. He has many years of policy, practice and research experience in children and family services in the UK. He started his career as a social worker and manager, working in several local authorities and NGOs in London. He was head of Evaluation, Practice development and Research at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. After spending some time as a civil servant he returned to research to become Deputy Director of the Policy Research Bureau.