Institutional abuse

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Institutional abuse in the AIFS library catalogue

Understanding trauma as a system of psycho-social harm : contributions from the Australian Royal Commission into child sex abuse.

McPhillips K, Salter M, Roberts-Pedersen E and Kezelman C
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 99 Jan 2020: 104232
This article explores how the nature of trauma was framed within the work and recommendations of the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Though trauma has traditionally been positioned as a bio-medical issue, its nature has long been contested and debated in clinical and academic circles. The Royal Commission adopted a broader view, framing trauma as a systemic form of psychosocial harm, and this view can be seen in its approach to its processes and procedures. This article also considers the impact for trauma studies.

'Uprooted from everything that attaches you' : long-term outcomes of former child migrants in care in the twentieth century in Australia.

Fernandez E, Lee J and McNamara P
British Journal of Social Work v. 49 no. 2 Mar 2019: 523-545
This article describes the experiences of former British child migrants who experienced abuse and neglect after relocation to Australia. It is part of a broader study of over 700 people who experienced institutional care in Australia from 1930 to 1989. The participants discussed their experiences whilst in care, the types of abuse and neglect experienced, frequency and severity of abuse, and impacts into adulthood. Though many of these former migrants exhibit resilience today, their mental health is still seriously affected by their experiences of trauma, hardship, abuse, and neglect.

First progress report

Australia. Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
Brisbane, Qld. : Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, 2019.
In April 2019, a Royal Commission was called to investigate violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in Australia. This report outlines the Royal Commission's work to date and their program of activities for 2020. Information is provided on key activities, strategic documents and issues papers released, support for people to share their experiences, public hearings, consultation workshops, submissions received, community forums, key issues raised so far, research studies commissioned, engaging First Nations people, and key staff. In 2020, the Royal Commission will continue to employ a range of engagement methods to ensure they are accessible and meet the needs of people with disability, stakeholders and communities.

Annual progress report 2019: implementation of recommendations from the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Australia, Australia. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Final report.
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Government, 2019.
In 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse presented its findings and recommendations. The Australian Government presented its official response in 2018, thanking the commissioners for their leadership and compassion over the 5 years of the inquiry and detailing the Australian Government's response to each of the 409 recommendations. The recommendations deal with redress, working with children checks report, criminal justice, and civil litigation. This report assesses the Australian Government's progress in implementing the recommendations relating to its jurisdiction - state and territory governments and other institutions will also prepare reports. Particular initiatives include the National Redress Scheme, the National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, the National Standards for Working with Children Checks, and the Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Act 2019.

Annual report 2018-19

Australia. Dept. of Social Services
Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Social Services, 2019.
The Commonwealth Department of Social Services is the leading Australian Government agency charged with developing and delivering social policy to improve the wellbeing of people and families in Australia. This annual report describes the Department's work and achievements in 2018/19. Information is provided on: management and accountability, financial statements, and outcomes in the portfolio areas of: Social Security; Families and Communities; Disability and Carers; and Housing. A major reform during the year was the redesign of Disability Employment Services, the launch of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children, the implementation of the National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional abuse, gaining formal agreement from the states on a National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering, and the expansion of the trial of the Cashless Debit Card program.

Characteristics of children with problem sexual behaviour and adolescent perpetrators of sexual abuse : a systematic review.

Malvaso C, Proeve M, Delfabbro P and Cale J
Journal of Sexual Aggression 29 Aug 2019: Advance online publication
This article reviews the literature on the characteristics of children and adolescents who exhibit harmful sexual behaviour or commit sex offences against other children. Particular issues include children and young people in institutional and organisational settings, and the implications for preventing child sexual abuse in institutional settings.

Child sexual abuse in the context of children's homes and residential care: Truth Project thematic report

Soares C
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2019.
One component of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is the Truth Project, which aims to hear and learn from the experiences of victims and survivors of institutional abuse in England and Wales. This report shares the insights of participants regarding child sexual abuse in children's homes and residential care between the 1940s and 2000s. It describes the backgrounds and childhoods of these people, the context and nature of the child sexual abuse experienced, characteristics of the institutions that enabled abuse, institutional and wider knowledge at the time, experiences of disclosure as a child or as an adult, responses by institutions, impacts of child sexual abuse in childhood and across the life course, and experiences of recovery and support. The report concludes with participants' views on what changes they think are necessary to prevent child sexual abuse in residential care and to improve responses to, and support for, victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. The report also notes differences between the experiences of these people and victims and survivors from other settings.

Interim report: neglect

Australia. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
Adelaide, S. Aust. : Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, 2019.
A Royal Commission has been called into quality and safety of the aged care system in Australia. This report presents the interim findings, setting out what the Royal Commission has learned to date and the extent of the failure of Australia's aged care services. In short, it has found the aged care system fails to meet the needs of its older, vulnerable, citizens. It does not deliver uniformly safe and quality care, is unkind and uncaring towards older people and, in too many instances, it neglects them. A fundamental overhaul of the design, objectives, regulation and funding of aged care in Australia is required. The findings are presented across three volumes. Volume 1 sets out the information gathered and makes some conclusions, volume 2 details learnings from the public hearings held to date, and volume 3 presents additional information from public forums. Recommendations for reform will be presented in the Royal Commission's final report, expected in November 2020.

Financial redress for survivors of historical child abuse in care: public consultation : a summary version

Scotland. Scottish Executive
Edinburgh : Scottish Government, 2019.
The Scottish Government is seeking views on the design of a statutory financial redress scheme as part of a package of wider reparations for survivors of historical child abuse in care. The findings will help shape the legislation which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament during 2020. This consultation paper invites public participation and provides questions for consideration. An earlier consultation from 2017 highlighted the potential provision of financial redress and forms the starting point for this new consultation. It raises detailed questions about scheme design as well as wider issues about how those responsible should contribute to the scheme, the establishment of a public body to administer the scheme, and the potential alignment of financial redress with other elements of a reparation package for survivors of historical abuse in care. This is a plain language summary version of the more detailed consultation paper.

Pre-legislative public consultation on financial redress for historical child abuse in care

Scotland. Scottish Executive
Edinburgh : Scottish Government, 2019.
The Scottish Government is seeking views on the design of a statutory financial redress scheme as part of a package of wider reparations for survivors of historical child abuse in care. The findings will help shape the legislation which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament during 2020. This consultation paper invites public participation and provides questions for consideration. An earlier consultation from 2017 highlighted the potential provision of financial redress and forms the starting point for this new consultation. It raises detailed questions about scheme design as well as wider issues about how those responsible should contribute to the scheme, the establishment of a public body to administer the scheme, and the potential alignment of financial redress with other elements of a reparation package for survivors of historical abuse in care. A summary version in plain language has also been released.

Accountability and reparations: investigation report

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (Great Britain)
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2019.
As part of the work of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, this report examines the extent to which the systems of civil justice, criminal compensation and support services provide effective accountability and reparations to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in England and Wales. It draws on case studies, public seminars, feedback from issues papers, and evidence from witnesses. Accountability and reparations for child sexual abuse takes many different forms, including punishing offenders, holding institutions to account, acknowledging abuse and providing apologies, explanations and assurances of non-recurrence, redress and financial compensation, and support. Though none of the systems under examination in this investigation is designed to deliver all of these objectives, those systems could be improved so that they become more effective at delivering accountability and reparations for victims and survivors. Though some recommendations are made in this report, others issues are identified for further investigation in the next round of public hearings.

Healing through connection : an Aboriginal community designed, developed and delivered cultural healing program for Aboriginal survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

Black C, Frederico M and Bamblett M
British Journal of Social Work v. 49 no. 4 Jun 2019: 1059-1080
This article describes a new program for Aboriginal survivors of institutional child sexual abuse who had also experienced cultural abuse and disconnection. This healing program was designed, developed and delivered by an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, and provides a culturally informed approach to healing that is lacking in mainstream services. The article discusses the development, implementation and evaluation of the program, and highlights the views of participants and program facilitators. It concludes with learnings to help inform the design and implementation of similar social work programs.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety: a quick guide

Haupt R
Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary Library, 2019.
A Royal Commission has been established to investigate the quality and delivery of aged care services in Australia. This paper provides an explanation of the development, scope, and funding of this Royal Commission. There have been a number of inquiries into aged care in recent years but significant public attention was raised over abuse at an abuse aged care facility at Oakden in South Australia.

Adult safeguarding laws: reviewing the proposal for a NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner

Roth L
Sydney, N.S.W. : NSW Parliamentary Research Service, 2019.
In December 2018, the New South Wales Premier announced that they would establish a powerful and independent Ageing and Disability Commissioner to investigate and address the abuse of older people and adults with disability. This briefing paper considers the context of such a role and similar schemes in Australia and overseas. It looks at the prevalence of abuse of older people and adults with disability, outlines existing agencies and adult safeguarding laws that play a role in protecting these groups from abuse, and considers recommendations to establish agencies to protect vulnerable or at-risk adults from abuse and neglect.

Independent review of residential colleges at the University of New England: final report

Australian Human Rights Commission, University of New England
Armidale, N.S.W. : University of New England, 2019.
This report investigates the prevalence and nature of sexual assault and sexual harassment at the seven residential colleges of the University of New England in New South Wales, including the culture at these colleges, the factors that contribute to the risk of assault and harassment, college policies and procedures, and barriers to reporting. The review drew on interviews, focus groups, written submissions and a survey. Approximately one-third of respondents reported having experienced sexual harassment, and 4% reported experiencing actual or attempted sexual assault or rape, with these assaults and harassments occurring throughout the academic year and not just at specific events. The coercion to participate in 'hazing' rituals and a college 'drinking culture' were highlighted as particular issues, as well as poor attitudes and knowledge regarding sexual assault, sexual harassment, victim-blaming, and gender roles. The report discusses the findings and presents 28 recommendations for reform. This report follows on from the 2017 'Change the course' national inquiry into sexual assault and harassment at Australian universities, which recommended that individual residential colleges and universities should commission independent reviews of their specific settings.

Child sexual abuse in the context of religious institutions: Truth Project thematic report

Hurcombe R
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2019.
One component of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is the Truth Project, which aims to hear and learn from the experiences of victims and survivors of institutional abuse in England and Wales. This report is the first of several which will share the insights of participants of the Truth Project, with this first report relating to sexual abuse that occurred in 'religious contexts', based on either the location or perpetrator of the abuse. The report analyses victims and survivors' experiences and views on: the nature of child sexual abuse in religious contexts; whether anything could have been done to prevent the abuse and how much institutions knew about the abuse; disclosure as a child or as an adult; the barriers and facilitators for disclosure; the impacts of the abuse; recovery and support; and improving child protection in future. Most of the cases relate to the Anglican and Catholic Churches in the 1970s and earlier. The findings suggest that sexual abuse in religious contexts differs from that in other institutions and circumstances, and reflect findings from the recent inquiry in Australia.

Effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices, and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practised: final report

Siewert R
Canberra, ACT : Commonwealth of Australia, 2019.
This report presenting the findings and recommendations of an inquiry into the effectiveness of the Government's Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices. The inquiry was called following incidents of poor quality care and abuse at the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Facility in South Australia, with evidence coming to light of systemic issues affecting aged care services throughout Australia. The inquiry also investigated the adequacy and effectiveness of complaints handling processes at a state and federal level, consumer awareness of complaints mechanisms, reporting and feedback mechanisms, responses to reports of adverse incidents, medication handling and drug administration practices, injury monitoring and reporting, mandatory reporting of serious injury and mortality incidents, and the division of responsibility and accountability between residents, staff, aged care providers, and the state and the federal governments. This inquiry has taken two years to complete, and related reforms and new inquiries that have commenced in this period are also noted.

Getting the National Redress Scheme right: an overdue step towards justice

Hinch D
Canberra : Commonwealth of Australia, 2019.
On the 1 July 2018, the government launched a National Redress Scheme for the survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia, one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This report presents the findings and recommendations of a committee established to provide oversight of the implementation of this redress scheme. The findings relate to the scheme's early stages of operation and provide an opportunity to make legislative and policy changes to help improve its processes and implementation. The committee found that the redress scheme is at serious risk of not delivering on its objective of providing justice to survivors, with only a small number of applications received, few redress payments made, and some institutions refusing to join the scheme.

The epidemiology of sexual assault of older female nursing home residents, in Victoria Australia, between 2000-2015.

Smith D, Cunningham N, Willoughby M, Young C, Odell M, Ibrahim J and Bugeja L
Legal Medicine v. 36 Feb 2019: 89-95
This article adds to what is known about the prevalence and nature of sexual assault of older women in nursing home settings. The cases of alleged sexual assaults referred to a clinical forensic examiner in Victoria between 2000 and 2015 were analysed. In this period, 28 forensic medical examinations were identified, though of course the actual number may be greater, due to under-reporting or non-identification. The cases showed that many of the alleged victims had physical and cognitive impairments and that injuries were infrequent. The findings highlight many gaps in what is known and the need for more data.

Understanding the experience and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care during the twentieth century

Fernandez E, Lee J and McNamara P
Kensington : University of New South Wales, 2018.
The 2016 study, 'No child should grow up like this', investigated the long-term life experiences of people who had been in out-of-home care in Australia. This new report provides more detail on one of the groups that took part in that study: Stolen Generations survivors and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families as children. Drawing on surveys, interviews, and focus groups, the report explores their entry into care, the care environment, experiences of maltreatment, contact with family, leaving care, education and employment outcomes, income, involvement with the justice system, relationships and parenting, social contact and community involvement, religion, physical and mental health, suicide, seeking help and support, barriers and access to services, dealing with authority figures, and public responses and formal apologies. Overall, this report presents an extremely grim picture of Aboriginal children's 'care' in the twentieth century. The multiple losses related to child removal and relentless neglect and abuse have resulted in untold damage. However, the Aboriginal participants in this study have showed remarkable resilience, courage, self-healing and activism. The report concludes with recommendations for supports for survivors and contemporary child welfare policy.

A future without violence: quality, safeguarding and oversight to prevent and address violence against people with disability in institutional settings

Australian Human Rights Commission, Australia. Attorney-General's Dept.
Sydney, NSW : Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018.
This report examines mechanisms for quality, safeguarding and oversight in the disability sector, focusing on their role and effectiveness in preventing and addressing violence against people in institutional settings. It investigates how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework impact and interact with the protections offered by states and territories and how government can strengthen these mechanisms in the future. The study involved a literature review, mapping of existing mechanisms, and national consultations. The report discusses the findings and makes recommendations for strengthening the system.

Children, sexuality and child sexual abuse.

Kenny D
Abingdon, UK : Routledge, 2018.
This book on child sexual abuse examines it from within the broader social and historical context, to provide a more nuanced insight into its causes and impacts. The book is aimed at professionals including police, child welfare workers, the judiciary, teachers, and the medical profession. Chapters include: Childhood, sex and society; Sexual development and behaviour in children; Adverse experiences in childhood; Prevalence of child sexual abuse; Abuse and neglect of children in Indigenous communities in Australia, New Zealand and Canada; Institutional child sexual abuse; Disclosure of child sexual abuse; Assessment of child sexual abuse; The effects of child sexual abuse; Memory; When memory deceives: false and recovered memories; and Young people who sexually offend.

Key messages from the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

Paterson N
Southbank, Vic. : Child Family Community Australia, 2018.
This short article provides a summary of the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse delivered in October 2018.

Child sexual abuse within the Catholic and Anglican Churches: a rapid evidence assessment

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (Great Britain)
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2018
To assist their work in the United Kingdom, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has commissioned this literature review to summarise what is known about child sexual abuse in Catholic and Anglican Churches. It presents a rapid evidence assessment of research from England and Wales as well as other jurisdictions abroad, focusing on the prevalence of child sexual abuse within these settings and trends over time, the institutional factors that enable child sexual abuse to occur within these settings, how both Churches have responded to child sexual abuse, and how institutional failures can be remedied for the future. Common themes between the two churches are highlighted and the gaps in the evidence are discussed. Though there is only limited evidence on the prevalence of child sexual abuse in these church settings, the research highlights how the culture and regulatory frameworks of religious institutions play a significant role in the incidence of child sexual abuse and how it is responded to. This report was first issued in 2017.

Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2017 - Provisions [and] Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017 - Provisions

Brockman S
Canberra, ACT : Community Affairs Legislation Committee Secretariat, 2018.
Two bills are currently before the Senate which together seek to establish a Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. The scheme would apply to Commonwealth and certain non-government institutions and provide survivors of institutional child sexual abuse with a monetary payment, access to counselling and psychological services, and a direct personal response from the responsible institution. As the Commonwealth does not have the constitutional power to legislate for a national scheme, these bills are intended as a 'first step' towards the implementation of a truly national Redress Scheme, and are drafted in anticipation of the participation of state governments and state-based non-government institutions. This report reviews the provisions of these two bills, and provides background information on the development of the redress scheme, administrative issues, and stakeholder concerns raised during the consultation period of the review. Though the review recommends that these bills be passed, recommendations for improvement are also included.

Annual progress report 2018: implementation of recommendations from the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Australia, Australia. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Final report.
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Government, 2018.
In 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse presented its findings and recommendations. As part of its response, the Australian Government has established an Implementation Taskforce to monitor and coordinate action on the recommendations of the Royal Commission. It intends to track progress made by all Australian governments annually until 2022 and then conduct a 10 year review in 2027, as recommended by the Royal Commission. This report is the first annual progress report, detailing the work of the Commonwealth and State governments towards these recommendations in the first 12 months since they were presented. It is arranged around the themes of: Making institutions child safe; Causes, support and treatment; Responses to abuse, including redress and civil litigation; Criminal justice and the protection of children; and Accountability and annual reporting. The full recommendations are included as an appendix.

Tasmanian response - Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Tasmania, Tasmania. Dept. of Justice, Australia. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Final report.
Hobart, Tas. : Tasmanian Government, 2018.
In 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse presented its findings and recommendations, aimed at both state and federal layers of government as well as agencies and organisations. This document presents the official response of the Tasmanian Government. It details their response to each of the relevant recommendations and also includes responses to recommendations made in the Working with Children Checks report, the Redress and Civil Litigation report, and the Criminal Justice report. The foreword, by the Tasmanian Attorney-General, notes that many of the Royal Commission's recommendations are consistent with reforms already underway.

Ending the victim-blaming : the Australian Jewish community and its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Mendes P
Gesher : Official Journal of the Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria) 2018: 69-73
This article argues that some Jewish organisations in Australia have failed to deal appropriately with institutional child sexual abuse. It highlights the problems caused by a reluctance to report abuse, vulnerabilities due to cultural practices, a priority on protecting the accused and the community's reputation, and shaming and shunning alleged victims and their families, rather than providing support. The findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse into the Yeshivah Centre and the Yeshivah Colleges in Melbourne, Victoria, and Bondi, New South Wales, are raised as examples.

Identifying institutional elder abuse in Australia through coronial and other death review processes.

Mitchell B
Macquarie Law Journal v. 18 2018: 35-56
This special journal issue is a response to the Australian Law Reform Commission's recent inquiry into elder abuse. This article considers how coronial and other death review systems could help identify elder abuse in institutional settings. It discusses how institutions and death are defined, the limitations of current review systems and other challenges, and possible reforms to improve the capture of this data and help prevent abuse.

The prevalence of elder abuse among adult guardianship clients.

Bedson L, Chesterman J and Woods M
Macquarie Law Journal v. 18 2018: 15-34
This special journal issue is a response to the Australian Law Reform Commission's recent inquiry into elder abuse. This article presents information on the prevalence of elder abuse among guardianship clients in Victoria, drawing on data from two studies from 2013-14 and 2016-17. Many of the available studies exclude people with cognitive impairment, so these findings will help inform prevalence studies. With a high and growing number of Australians suffering from dementia, and strong evidence to suggest a positive correlation between cognitive impairment and elder abuse, it is imperative that future research includes this cohort. Issues in the possible over-use of guardianship and its risk for abuse are also discussed.
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