Read our March newsletter

Our first newsletter for 2015 is now available. In this edition we highlight a recent review of the evidence relating to out-of-home care practices in preventing child sexual abuse, and how this work has informed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

We also give an update on the delivery of smalltalk within culturally diverse communities in Victoria, share two new research publications, and invite you to read our Year in Review 2013-14.

Read the newsletter

Support for breastfeeding mums

Raising Children Network has released free online videos to help the almost 300,000 Australian women who each year start breastfeeding. The video resource includes an Australian-first animation on how to get the best attachment. The videos feature real stories from real mothers talking about what has worked for them and breastfeeding experts offering tips and answers to common questions such as: Is baby getting enough milk? Is baby properly attached? How long should a feed last?

Raising Children Network has collaborated with infant nutrition experts, including the Australian Breastfeeding Association, to support mums during and beyond the early days of breastfeeding.

This online resource is particularly helpful for women who spend only a short time in hospital after childbirth and in the first few days at home with a new baby go online looking for breastfeeding support.

Forum: parents with mental illness

A one-day forum will be held at Monash University on 24 March 2015. The forum will focus on a model that helps parents who have a mental illness.

The forum, Developing a Recovery Model for Parents, will review Let’s Talk about Children, an evidence-based intervention that engages families and children within specialist mental health services. It is open to practitioners as well as people with lived experience of mental illness, and is part of the research program in the Victorian Government Mental Illness Research Fund (MIRF).

Warren Cann, CEO of the PRC, will be facilitating a session on how three different services are applying the Let’s Talk program.


Role of pre-employment screening in preventing child sexual abuse

Our report on the effectiveness of pre-employment screening in preventing child sexual abuse has found that criminal background checks are an important component of pre-employment screening practices. These background checks are most effective when combined with other safeguards, such as thorough reference checks and verification of the applicant’s identity, employment history and qualifications.

The report was prepared for the Royal Commission by the Parenting Research Centre and University of Melbourne.

Read about other key findings in our resources section.

Preventing child sexual abuse in OOHC

The Royal Commission has released a report on the effectiveness of out-of-home care (OOHC) practices in preventing child sexual abuse. The report, prepared by the Parenting Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, makes valuable findings which will be used to shape the Royal Commission’s final recommendations.

Royal Commission CEO Phillip Reed explained: “The Royal Commission was set up to investigate where systems have failed to protect children; a core area of our work is also recommending ways to improve them,” he said.

The report examines practices that help prevent child sexual abuse in out-of-home care, and the evidence around ways to reduce child-on-child sexual abuse, as well as abuse perpetrated by caregivers. However, it concludes that there are very few studies that have tested which practices or types of programs lead to decreased rates of sexual abuse of children.

“This research, combined with the submissions made to the Royal Commission’s 2013 issues paper Prevention of Sexual Abuse in Out-of-Home Care, and a public roundtable in April 2014, are important sources of information leading up to the public hearing on this matter in March this year,” Mr Reed said.

Key findings include:

  • There is very limited, rigorous evidence available about the effectiveness of practices or programs that prevent child sexual abuse in out-of-home care.
  • Most of the research available relates to training, support and/or treatment for sexually abusive and/or ‘acting out’ children in out-of-home care and their caregivers.
  • The major focus on preventing child sexual abuse in out-of-home care should be on efforts to prevent sexual abuse between children rather than by caregivers, since child-child sexual abuse likely represents the vast majority of child sexual abuse in out-of-home care.

Read the full report in our resources section.