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What is known about child sexual exploitation in residential care? Research brief

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In 2016, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia noted that Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) was a significant issue of concern for children and young people in residential care, as alarming rates of sexual abuse and exploitation continue to be reported. Jackson (2014, p. 34) states that ‘being in out-of-home care, including foster care and residential care, was considered a risk factor for sexual exploitation in itself, especially residential care’ with a report from the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People (2015) reporting that the current residential care system placed children and young people at higher risk of sexual exploitation. This research brief examines the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) amongst children and young people living in residential care. Children and young people in residential care often have extensive complex needs and trauma histories (Gatwiri, McPherson, Macnamara, Mitchell & Tucci, 2018; McPherson, Gatwiri, Tucci, Mitchell & Macnamara, 2018) and as a result they are particularly vulnerable to being targeted by sexual predators compared to children in the general community (Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 2016; Victoria State Government, 2017).

 

The aim of this research brief is to:

  • Define Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Provide an overview of the risk factors to child sexual exploitation
  • Explore the relationship between CSE and placement instability
  • Explore the common elements of effective therapeutic responses to CSE
  • Explore common psychoeducation responses to CSE
  • Explore multi-sectoral approaches to CSE
  • Explore training programs for staff and carers
  • Outline key messages for practice

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