New South Wales Interagency Plan to Tackle Child Sexual Assault in Aboriginal Communities: 2006-2011


Sexual assault of children has long-term devastating consequences for those who have experienced it, as well as their families. The preparation of a whole-of-government plan has been prompted by concerns that child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities is widespread and widely underreported. This five year plan has three high level goals: i) to reduce the incidence of child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities; ii) to reduce disadvantage and dysfunction in Aboriginal communities; and iii) to build up Aboriginal leadership and increase family and community safety and wellbeing. A suite of proposals to achieve these goals are built around four strategic directions as follows: law enforcement; child protection; early intervention and prevention; and community leadership and support. The plan attempts to strike a balance between these four areas of government action. There are strong justice interventions, recognising that child sexual assault is a serious crime against children requiring immediate ‘circuit-breakers’; these are balanced against comprehensive early intervention and prevention services to support families at risk of violence and child abuse and to promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people. The plan thoroughly considers how to improve the way child protection services operate; these measures are balanced against robust support for community capacity and leadership to assist Aboriginal communities to ensure the safety of their children and families and to address this problem in ways that are culturally meaningful.

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