What Children and Young People Tell us about Safety
See me, hear me: Including children in practice
In 2014, The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commissioned a study to better understand how children and young people in Australia perceive safety, their views on safety within institutions and what they think should be done to respond to safety issues.
Researchers from the Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS) met with over 120 children and young people aged between 4 and 18 years, including; students, children in OOHC, young people with a disability, and Aboriginal students (Moore, McArthur, Noble-Carr & Harcourt, 2015).
- Children and young people want to be involved in identifying and dealing with safety issues and believe that through their partnership with adults and institutions, child sexual abuse can be better addressed.
- Children and young people differentiate between ‘being safe’ and ‘feeling safe’ and they are often more concerned with feeling safe than being safe.
- Children and young people often believed that adults were more focused on observable threats around children rather than how safe they feel.
- Children and young people reported that there were times when they were safe but did not feel safe because they were worried their fears were not being taken seriously or they were not aware of what adults were doing to protect them.
- Children and young people demonstrate how safe they are and feel through their behaviour and assess their safety in relation to how their bodies respond to people, places and experiences as well as the reactions they observe in others.
- Children and young people feel most safe around people, places or experiences that are familiar to them or when they are alone in a place they feel they have some control.
Biggest safety worries amongst children and young people interviewed
Researchers from ICPS found that Australian children shared a number of common worries including:
- Bullying by adults- including favouritism
- Bullying by other children/young people
- Being pressured into doing “bad” things they didn’t want to do
- Being hurt because adults weren’t doing their job or institutions failing to protect them from external threats
- Coming across “creepy” adults
(Moore et al, 2015).
To learn more about what children say about safety follow the links below:
Moore and Morag McArthur, Research to Practice Seminar: See Me, Hear
Me: Including Children in Practice, Sydney, 21 July 2016.
Kids Central Tools. Tim Moore and Morag McArthur, Research to Practice Seminar: See Me, Hear Me: Including Children in Practice, Sydney, 21 July 2016.
Taking us seriously: children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns The Institute of Child Protection Studies (2015)
CRC25: The Australian Child Rights Progress Report (2016)
CREATE Foundation Report Card (2013)
Kids Central Toolkit developed by ICPS
Moore, T & McArthur, M (2016) Talking to kids about safety: Learning from the Children’s Safety Study. Research to Practice Seminar, See Me, Hear Me: Including children in practice. Sydney.
Moore, T., McArthur, M., Noble-Carr, D., & Harcourt, D (2015). Taking us seriously: children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne.