Page 2399 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008
(2) Who is currently responsible for conducting assessments on young people who have experienced sexual abuse and could the Minister outline the process thereafter.
Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
1. Memoranda of Understanding have been developed to reflect collabatorive practices and compliance with the legislative requirements.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services -Office for Children, Youth and Family Support (OCYFS) and ACT Health includes specific agreements with the Child at Risk Health Unit (CARHU). The ACT Health MOU includes the services provided by other areas of ACT Health including Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care. In addition, an agreement exists between Care and Protection Services and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service concerning the delivery of the Young People Outreach Worker (YPOW) project, an early intervention program for children and young people who use violence in their families.
OCYFS makes referrals to the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and Services Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault as appropriate and works in collaboration with these agencies to support mutual clients.
OCYFS has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team (SACAT) of ACT Policing.
2. Care and Protection Services undertakes an appraisal of a child protection report where an allegation of sexual abuse has been made and when the allegations are assessed as requiring an appraisal. This appraisal, where possible, involves interviews with the child or young person, the parents and other people involved with the care of the child or young person such as school personnel, treating practitioners, medical specialists and counsellors.
In addition, an appraisal will involve a referral to Police, who will determine if a criminal investigation is to be conducted. Police and Care and Protection Services may agree to undertake a joint investigation or separate actions. Allegations of sexual abuse concerning carers require immediate action to protect the child, including removal from placement, pending an investigation.
A medical examination may be conducted as part of an appraisal. A Police medical practitioner, a paediatrician from the Child at Risk Health Unit at The Canberra Hospital or a medical practitioner from Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care in ACT Health may undertake this examination.
Following completion of an appraisal, Care and Protection Services will determine what ongoing action is required, if any, to ensure the protection of the child or young person. Police will determine if there is sufficient evidence for a charge to be laid against an alleged perpetrator and communicate on this course of action with Care and Protection Services.
ACT Housing—tenant audit
(Question No 2060)
Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice, on 6 May 2008: