(Download Full Report Below)
|| Australian Royal Commission Releases Research Report
by Bill Murray, NAASCA founder
EDITOR'S NOTE: We have been following the work of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse with considered interest. It's our hope that this important work may someday point the way to similar work, on a Federal level, here in the United States. Perhaps a Presidential investigative/action group could be formed.
In addition to addressing abuses that have occurred inside institutions, NAASCA would like to see similar work done to break through the taboo of discussing child abuse and its life-long trauma, especially childhood sexual abuse, most of which happens in the family or by individuals the child knows well and is taught to trust and love.
About 50 Million american adults are child sexual abuse survivors, victimized at a time when they were completely innocent of responsibility. Turning our back on these people, now adult survivors of child abuse, is unconscionable. NAASCA feels that until we prioritize serving the victims of abuse the pandemic will continue.
We need to stop the silence.
Royal Commission releases research report on understanding failure to identify and report child sexual abuse
Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse
When it comes to understanding why some institutions fail to identify and report child sexual abuse, research released by the Royal Commission suggests that a new approach that seeks a deeper understanding of why errors occur would be more effective in encouraging safe practices in the future.
The research, ‘Hear no evil, see no evil: understanding failure to identify and report child abuse in institutional contexts' was conducted by Professor Eileen Munro (London School of Economics and Political Sciences) and Dr Sheila Fish (Social Care Institute for Excellence).
Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said the research draws on two Royal Commission case studies and offers speculative findings on individual and organizational factors that have contributed to the failure to protect children in a timely and effective way.
The study identifies a number of challenges to creating and maintaining a safe organization where staff members; are quick to recognize grooming or abuse behavior and trigger a process that investigates concerns and can take appropriate action so that children are protected from harm.
According to the researchers, one such challenge is the nature of child sexual abuse itself.
Perpetrators seek to conceal their activities, children and young people who are abused can be unable or slow to ask for help, and many behavioral indicators of abuse and grooming are ambiguous.
Mr Reed said the report contains useful examples of what organizations can do to make themselves safer places for children.
“According to the research, organizations that achieve a very good safety level share a fundamental belief that mistakes will happen and their goal is to spot them quickly,” he said.
“They encourage an open culture where people can discuss difficult judgments and report mistakes so that the organization can learn.”
“The research will help the Royal Commission understand how child sexual abuse can be better identified and prevented in the future.”
Detecting child sexual abuse is a task that many people may do rarely – if ever – at work. Grooming behavior in particular is often ambiguous, making it difficult for colleagues, who may not be experienced in detecting grooming, to make sense of the behavior and recognize it as child sexual abuse.
Organizations that implement systems and processes that provide ways for staff to talk through their judgments and decision making process, and encourage a culture of critical reflection, can help minimize errors of reasoning and cognitive bias.
Read the full report:
See No Evil, Do No Evil
Report from Australia's Royal Commission
About the researchers:
Professor Eileen Munro CBE, Professor of Social Policy, Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Professor Munro led the independent review of child protection in England.
Dr Sheila Fish, Head of Learning Together / Senior Research Analyst, Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Dr Fish leads SCIE's work on a systems approach to safeguarding reviews.