Responding to Aboriginal child sexual assault: the NSW Ombudsman’s audit of the NSW Interagency Plan. ANZATSA New Beginnings – Keeping Society Safe through collaborative interventions 17 October 2013. Presentation outline. Background, methodology and key findings. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Responding to Aboriginal child sexual assault: the NSW Ombudsmans audit of the NSW Interagency Plan
ANZATSA New Beginnings Keeping Society Safe through collaborative interventions
17 October 20131Presentation outlineBackground, methodology and key findings. Addressing Aboriginal disadvantage: the importance of place based service delivery in high needs communities.Significant challenges that need to be met.Improving access to forensic medical examinations. Meeting the demand for counselling for victims.Responding more effectively to children who display sexually abusive behaviours.
2Audit background2006: Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault Taskforce report Breaking the Silence: Creating the Future is released.2007: five year NSW Interagency Plan to Tackle Child Sexual Assault in Aboriginal Communities released in response to ACSAT report. The Plan committed 11 government agencies and a number of NGOs to implementing 88 actions. 2009: Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW recommends that the Ombudsman be given legislative responsibility to audit the implementation of the Interagency Plan.2010-2012: although final report not due until 31/12/12, we release three interim audit reports two of these were tabled in Parliament.31 Jan 2013: final audit report tabled in NSW Parliament.
3Government responseIn response to our final report, NSW Government releases Ochre strategy and brings together a group of Senior Executives and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts to develop a comprehensive response to our audit report.
Addressing Aboriginal disadvantage: the importance of place based service deliveryRebuilding the service system to provide a more targeted response to communities and individuals who need support.A centralised approach at the local level to decision making about the planning, funding and delivery of services.An intelligence-driven approach to child protection.Supported by strong local and state-wide leadership and governance.Meaningful data collection, analysis and public reporting. Audit methodologyConsulted extensively with local communities, agencies and other key stakeholders across NSW and in other jurisdictions 495 meetings with over 2,000 people.Issued 20 information requirements to 12 agencies.Examined 12 target communities with significant Aboriginal populations in detail.Reviewed the circumstances of 60 Aboriginal children the subject of child sexual abuse reports, including their child protection, school attendance and suspension records and familys contact with police.Reviewed 27 child sexual abuse cases (involving 45 victims and 30 defendants) from the 12 communities which proceeded to the DPP.Analysed local and state-wide data in relation to Child Abuse Squad reporting and responses; and data relating to targeted services and programs, child protection, crime, education and health.
What the data tells usIn 2011: 55% of the 8,857 reported victims of sexual abuse in NSW were children younger than 16 Aboriginal children (4% of child population) were the subject of 10% of all reported child sexual abuse.In the 12 target communities, Aboriginal children (12% of child population) were the subject of 23% of child sexual abuse reports between 2007-2011. 12% increase in reporting of child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities over the 5 years of the plan. Reporting increased in several locations where there was strong leadership by community on the issue of child sexual abuse and/or through agency partnerships.12% decline in attrition rates from the criminal justice system for child sexual assault matters between 2006 to 2011.
7Child Protection ReportingOur child protection work has shown child abuse commonly occurs in the context of broader abuse and neglect. We examined the child protection histories of the child victims from the 12 communities and found:Two thirds had already been the subject of 10 or more child at risk reports before the sexual abuse incidentThe face to face response rate for risk of sexual harm reports for Aboriginal children in NSW is 55%. However, face to face response rates in the 12 target communities were only half the state wide average at 26% - in some locations it was as low as 15%.
School attendance and suspension patternsAlmost a third of Aboriginal students from the 12 communities had missed 30 days or more of school in 2011, including three schools where more than 80% of Aboriginal students missed 30 days or more of school.We also looked closely at the child protection and education histories of 46 Aboriginal children from the 12 target communities who had been the subject of a sexual abuse report. This showed:61% had missed 30 or more days of school in the six months before the incident and 15% had been suspended at least once in the same six month period; and67% had missed 30 or more days of school in the six months after the incident and 38% had been suspended at least once in the same six month period.
Key service capacity challengesTrauma caused to children required to travel large distances to be forensically examined in remote parts of NSW.Heavy demand and limited capacity of counselling.Shortage of treatment programs for young people who sexually abuse and limited availability of services for children under ten who display sexually abusive behaviours.Broader impacts of staffing constraints in rural and remote locations particularly child protection workers.Improving the efficiency of the child protection system.Enhancing resourcing and accountability across the tri-agency team for responding to child abuse (JIRT).Improving the criminal justice response.Strengthening the management of sex offenders in the community.
10Improving access to forensic medical examinationsA lack of suitably qualified practitioners to conduct forensic examinations in regional and remote areas, particularly for children under 14.Travelling long distances to undergo an examination is traumatic for victims and acts as a disincentive for reporting. Various initiatives during the life of the Interagency Plan:Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Forensic Medical project (CASAFAM)Payment Determination for registered medical practitionersEfforts to increase the number of Sexual Assault Nurse ExaminersAccess to Isolated and Remote Sexual assault victims model (AIRS).Whats needed?A clear interagency policy outlining roles and responsibilities.Access to a flexible funding pool for flight travel and other expenses.Improved data collection, recording and reporting.
11Meeting the demand for counselling servicesServices are unable to meet demand as a result of: inadequate/insecure funding difficulties recruiting/retaining staffpoor service coordination. Service gaps exist for victims who:have not formally reported the abuseare adult survivors of abusehave experienced intra-familial abuselive in rural or remote communities.
12What is needed to better meet the demand for counselling?Review of SAS budget quarantining of funds for SAS as part of the budget allocations to LHDs and allocation to SAS of additional funds for brokerage. Review incentive schemes improve staff retention in rural/remote areas.Task ECAV with responsibility for an Aboriginal recruitment and staff development plan.
What is needed to better meet the demand for counselling?Joint service capacity review by Health, FACS and DAG&J Department of Attorney General.Commitment to service integration and coordination at a strategic and local level.Shift onus away from the victim and onto the service provider to provide facilitated referrals.Creating a joined-up single referral interface for victims.Responding to children who display sexually abusive and/or other risk taking behavioursUnlikely to present as the only area of behavioural concern/therapeutic need.Significant cohort 21% of sexual abuse suspects identified in NSW in 2011 were aged 17 years or younger.40% of the suspects identified in connection with the Aboriginal child sexual abuse incidents in our 12 target communities were juveniles. Early identification/intervention is critical.Limited capacity to provide therapeutic services only 60-70 specialist treatment places available each year in NSW.Restorative justice model for Aboriginal young people.15What is needed to respond more effectively to this group? A comprehensive, cross agency response:a cohesive policy and legislative framework that sets out the roles of the various agencies and servicesa review of the capacity of the available specialist serviceseffective sanctions for high-risk individuals who do not comply with treatment plans. Needs to form part of a broader, integrated approach to addressing the needs of young people with complex needs more broadly.
16Addressing Aboriginal disadvantage: the importance of place based service deliveryRebuilding the service system to provide a more targeted response to communities and individuals who need support.A centralised approach at the local level to decision making about the planning, funding and delivery of services.An intelligence-driven approach to child protection.Supported by strong local and state-widen leadership and governance.Meaningful data collection, analysis and public reporting. Further informationJulianna Demetrius Director, Strategic Projects Division NSW OmbudsmanPh: (02) 9286 0920Email: [email protected]
Our reports are available at:www.ombo.nsw.gov.au