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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 789 ..


To be effective, the distribution of information needs to be universal. The economic case is clear: prevention initiatives are worth every cent spent.

I therefore call upon the ACT government to work with nationally recognised and accredited organisations to identify appropriate materials that reflect best practice, to source such materials through the normal procurement process and to provide these materials to all first-time parents and other primary caregivers in the ACT. This is a wise course of action that will protect both children and parents.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (10.36): I thank Mrs Kikkert for bringing forward this motion. Child sexual abuse is a very serious issue and one on which governments and the wider community must continue to work together to address.

I wish to thank the survivors and parents for their bravery in telling their stories and their advocacy in seeking to ensure that no other parents or children have to go through what these families have endured. I move the amendment that has been circulated in my name:

Omit all words after “(1) notes that”, substitute:

“(a) in the ABS 2016 Personal Safety Survey, 1.4 million Australians aged 18 years and over reported having experienced sexual abuse before the age of 15;

(b) in Australia in 2016-17, 5861 children and young people were the subject of substantiated sexual abuse reports within families or out of home care;

(c) research has found that child sexual abuse can affect brain development, psychological and social functioning, self-esteem, mental health, personality, sleep, health risk behaviours including substance abuse, self-harm and life expectancy; and

(d) the economic cost of child abuse in Australia has been estimated by Access Economics to run into billions of dollars;

(2) further notes that:

(a) since at least 1986, numerous experts have emphasised the need to better inform parents and other primary caregivers so that they can more effectively prevent and respond to child sexual abuse, with scholarly literature increasingly advocating for parent-focused child sexual abuse prevention efforts;

(b) well-informed parents and other primary caregivers are considered necessary in order to supplement school-based and other programs targeted at children because such parents and caregivers can:

(i) repeat and reinforce correct information;

(ii) aid in prevention by recognising risk factors and warning signs;

(iii) react helpfully to disclosure or discovery of abuse; and

(iv) relieve some of the burden of prevention currently placed on children;


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