Giving children and young people a voice
It’s been two years since the final report was handed down from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The recommendations from this report highlighted the need to listen to the voices of children and young people; to allow them to participate in decisions affecting them; and to involve them in the design, implementation and evaluation of initiatives that keep them safe.
At Wesley Mission we sought to do that by inviting 164 children and young people in our programs, between the ages of 10 and 17, to provide feedback on their safety, when engaging with Wesley Mission.
This research conducted by the Institute of Child Protection Studies at the Australian Catholic University found that most of the young people surveyed in our programs felt safe either ‘all of the time’ (76.2 per cent) or ‘most of the time’ (20.1 per cent).
We learned that in order to feel safe, young people wanted a trusted adult they could approach if they felt uncomfortable. Through their feedback, these young people told us that we need to identify better ways for children to report safety concerns, and to look for more accessible and child-friendly ways for them to raise issues.
This will be the first in an ongoing exercise to monitor our engagement and find ways to give children and young people more of a voice in how they’re supported. With more than 120 years’ experience caring for children and young people, it’s our responsibility to do all we can to safeguard their bright futures.