Page 5347 - Week 13 - Thursday, 29 November 2018

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(2) How will the ACT Government engage with Bravehearts and Child Wise in order to continue to revise and update these resources in (a) 2018–19 and (b) 2019–20.

(3) When can new parents and caregivers expect to receive improved resources that contain up-to-date, correct and appropriate information that reflects best practice.

Ms Stephen-Smith: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The ACT Government remains committed to ensuring appropriate resources are widely available to support families, parents, carers and professionals across the community, including education resources and information around child sexual abuse.

As part of this commitment and in line with the Assembly’s motion of 21 March 2018, a telephone meeting was held on 14 May 2018 between Minister Stephen-Smith and Ms Hetty Johnston AM, Founder and Chair of Bravehearts Foundation Limited, to discuss this important issue.

On 15 June 2018, the ACT Government released its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Commission recommendations provide an opportunity for the ACT Government to enhance its services, programs and resources to keep children and young people safe from abuse and neglect.

(2) The ACT Government will, through the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations, work with other jurisdictions and any interested community partners, with expertise in child sexual abuse, to build on existing resources and information available to the ACT community.

The Royal Commission provides clear direction to establishing child safe environments, developing child safe standards underpinned by robust coordination, review and continuous improvement. Specifically, Recommendation 6.2 outlines a number of initiatives that would form part of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse. These initiatives include the integration of prevention education for children and parents into existing school curricula and other community institutional settings. Prevention education would aim to increase knowledge of child sexual abuse and its impact, and build practical skills and strategies to help reduce the risks of child sexual abuse.

The response to this recommendation is being considered in the context of all the recommendations agreed to by the ACT Government. The ACT Government is committed to ensuring children’s safety and will work with the community to ensure that this expectation is met.

In its own response to the Royal Commission, the Commonwealth Government committed to establishing an Office of Child Safety to provide a response to the implementation of the Child Safe Standards nationally, and to develop and lead the proposed National Framework for Child Safety.

This work will be informed by leading practice in this area across jurisdictions and resources will be considered in development of the ACT approach. This may include resources from Child Wise and Bravehearts, as well as a number of Government and community organisations with expertise in this area.

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