A child or young person is sexually abused when any person uses their power over the child to involve that child in sexual activity.
Understanding child sexual abuse and responding
Increased recognition of child sexual abuse has led to a dramatic increase in the number of children being reported to child protection and the police.
The department is responsible for protective investigations. This is when sexual abuse of a child, or young person by a parent or caregiver is suspected and the child, or young person is not protected from this abuse.
Professionals working with children are likely to come in contact with children who have experienced sexual abuse. They need to be skilled and prepared to recognise and respond to child sexual abuse and support child victims and their families.
The child sexual abuse: Understanding and responding booklet will help professionals respond to this serious social problem. For more information, see Related resources.
Actions coming out of the recommendations of Betrayal of Trust
A series of initiatives are being implemented to respond to the recommendations of Betrayal of Trust, the report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-government Organisations.
Many of the initiatives will have an impact on the way organisations prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. Information is available about how the changes will impact organisations via the following links. This includes organisations funded by Victorian Government departments and other organisations that are not funded by government, but are engaged in child-related work.
The initiatives fall into 3 areas:
- Criminal offences to improve responses to child sexual abuse
- Creating child safe organisations
- Responding to civil claims involving allegations of child sexual abuse.
See Betrayal of Trust implementation on the Justice and Regulation website for more general information about the Victorian Government’s response.