AHISA SUBMISSION

Australian Institute of Family Studies

1 March 2021

Draft framework for nationally consistent guidance for teachers and principals on the prevention of child sexual abuse 

In response to Recommendation 13.7 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) engaged the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) to lead development of a framework for nationally consistent guidance for teachers and principals on the prevention of child sexual abuse.

AHISA’s submission to AIFS welcomed the development of nationally consistent guidance for school teachers and principals on the prevention of child sexual abuse. 

AHISA drew attention to the need for the final guidance document to explicitly indicate how national approaches interact with the regulatory and legislative regimes in the jurisdictions and related materials produced by state and territory governments, including guidelines, tools, professional learning courses and even definitions of sexual abuse. The submission noted that the tension between ‘guidance’ and regulated conduct in relation to how schools approach child safety was likely to be an ongoing issue and that, without explicit reference to jurisdictional differences, national guidance materials could be a potential source of confusion for schools. AHISA also suggested that there be a designated primary ‘home’ for online national documentation (such as the National Office of Child Safety) and that links to relevant state and territory sites and/or documentation be referenced on the national site.
AHISA also raised the issue of currency of information given the penalties for failing to meet regulatory standards, and the need to consider how updates of information would be communicated to schools and educators.

Draft framework for nationally consistent guidance for teachers and principals on the prevention of child sexual abuse – Australian Institute of Family Studies