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Preventing youth sexual violence and abuse

Sexual violence and abuse has proved to be among the most difficult and confounding social problems of our time...A unique opportunity now exists to put Australia, and Queensland in particular, at the forefront of international efforts to understand and address these problems.

Professor Stephen Smallbone

The Queensland Government recognises every child’s right to feel safe and free from harm.

In 2012 the Department of Premier and Cabinet commissioned Griffith University to examine Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse in West Cairns and Aurukun.

The results of this examination highlighted evidence of youth sexual violence and abuse and the risks for the future.

As a result, the Queensland Government has committed to taking positive action focused on the prevention of youth sexual violence and abuse in Queensland.

This commitment is just one of many Queensland Government initiatives designed to better support children and families.

Preventing Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse report

The Preventing Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse in West Cairns and Aurukun: Establishing the scope, dimensions and dynamics of the problem report was authored by Professor Stephen Smallbone, Susan Rayment-McHugh and Dimity Smith. It was commissioned by the Queensland Government in 2011 and received in September 2013.

This report has been redacted. The redactions cover information that may be personal, that would identify individuals and some statistics in the research that are low numbers in a small community, which although may not reasonably lead to the identification of individuals, may none the less constitute a risk.

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Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee

The Chair of the Committee, the Honourable Mr Stanley Jones AO QC, is supported by Steering Committee members including heads of relevant state and federal government departments, key community representatives and a child safety advocate. The committee members were selected from across Queensland to provide a broad range of expertise and insight on the issue of youth sexual violence and abuse.

First report

Given the serious nature of this issue, appropriate timeframes set for this first phase of work allowed for comprehensive data collection and review.

The First Report by the Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee was sent to the Queensland Government on 31 August 2016. It provides recommendations which focus on improving service effectiveness; raising awareness of youth sexual violence and abuse; and resourcing of responses to address the issue.

The Queensland Government has now made this report and the government response publically available.

Government response

This First Report aims to ensure effective and efficient implementation and coordination of activities across all tiers of government in Aurukun and West Cairns to address youth sexual violence and abuse; and quickly identify barriers to effective implementation and ensure these areas are addressed.

The Queensland Government appreciates the Committee’s extensive work to date, including timely completion of this First Report.

The First Report highlights seven recommendations across three themes: improve service effectiveness, raise awareness and resourcing.

The Queensland Government supports all recommendations from the First Report.

Next steps

The next phase of the Committee’s work will include further consultation, and look more broadly at the prevalence of youth sexual violence and abuse across the state. The Steering Committee will provide a final report and recommendations to the Queensland Government in due course.

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Supporting Families Changing Futures reform program

The Queensland Government is investing $406 million over 5 years to improving early intervention and prevention for children and families at risk through the Supporting Families Changing Futures reforms, including increasing Intensive Family Support services.

Through the Supporting Families Changing Futures reform program, government aims to:

reduce the number of children and young people in the child protection system

revitalise frontline services

refocus on learning, improving and taking responsibility for a better child protection system.

This will require a fundamental shift in the way government agencies, child safety professionals and community organisations work with vulnerable families, and with each other.

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Domestic and Family Violence

The Queensland Government has committed $49 million to implementing the recommendations of the Not Now, Not Ever report on domestic and family violence including specific strategies to protect victims of domestic violence in Far North Queensland.

Read more about the Queensland Government's domestic and family violence prevention initiatives.

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Is your feedback

Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.