The Australian Centre for Child Protection has been leading the way in research, policy and practice solutions as a National Centre for over 17 years. This includes a long history in Western Australia, working with a strong and growing team of locally based research and practice staff. As part of the continuing strengthening of our WA programs of work and growth of our WA team, the ACCP has a WA branch located in the heart of Perth.

Our WA Leadership Team

PMX33391.jpgThe ACCP’s leadership team includes Director Professor Leah Bromfield, and Deputy Directors Ms Amanda Paton and Professor Melissa O’Donnell. Leading a range of child protection projects locally and nationally, Ms Paton and Professor O’Donnell are both based in WA, and are nationally recognised, respectively for their expertise in responding to child sexual abuse and the application of linked data to child protection. 



The ACCP WA branch is supported by an expert team of over 10 additional locally based researchers and clinical specialists, supporting the ACCP WA Branch’s work across research, practice, policy and workforce development. 

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ACCP-WA Current Projects

ACCP’s WA team is currently working with a range of WA partners to improve the lives of children in Western Australia. This includes undertaking research, workforce development, policy and strategic advice, service design, consultancy and large scale projects. The team has a strong connection to government agencies in WA and are represented on various working and advisory groups. In addition, the team has a strong focus on enhancing the practice needs of the WA workforce through translation of research into practice via innovative solutions that safeguards children and young people in the WA community. Some of our current projects include:

Improving Responses to Harmful Sexual Behaviours, WA Department of Communities

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Through the ACCP, a new program of work focused on research and research translation activities to improve responses to harmful sexual behaviours (HSB) is in progress. This program of work has attracted a $2m investment from the Western Australian Department of Communities, to focus on responses for the WA context.

The South Australian Department for Child Protection have also provided a $500k grant to support and enable this program of work to improve South Australian responses to HSB in children and young people.  These aligned grants and programs of work will maximise cost effectiveness, learnings, outputs and impacts across the projects and provide mutual benefits.

>Read More Here

Cross-Agency Deliberations on Abuse Risk, Channel 7 Telethon Trust

The ACCP is leading this new WA based research project seeking to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for WA children. It aims to improve child safety through enhancing the quality of existing systems for inter-agency deliberations, as a pathway to improve responses to children experiencing or at risk of child abuse and neglect. Lead by Associate Professor James Herbert, this project brings together government agencies including Department of Health, Department of Communities, WA Police and Department of Education.

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Improving practice when child protection intervenes with pregnant mothers and newborns: co-design and evaluation of evidence informed guidelines, Stan Perron Charitable Foundation

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The Australian Centre for Child Protection is working with the University of Western Australia to provide research services on a project aiming to improve practice outcomes for child protection practice for child protection interventions with pregnant mothers and newborns. The project brings the leading data expertise of Chief Investigator Associate Professor Melissa O’Donnell with a review of the evidence as well as engagement across lived expertise interviews, focus groups and workshops throughout the project.


National Projects Making a Local Impact

As the premiere National Centre for child protection, the ACCP also continues to apply funds from national grants to its work in WA, including several NHMRC funded projects led by Professor Melissa O’Donnell, as well as bringing a Western Australian perspective to the development of national solutions. This includes the recently awarded National Child Sexual Abuse Practice Standards and baseline analysis led by ACCPs Amanda Paton for the National Office of Child Safety.

Award Winning WA Work and Recognition

The ACCP’s WA work and the expertise of its WA based team has been recognised through a number of awards and appointments including:

  • Professor Melissa O’Donnell’s being awarded the 2021 UniSA Justice & Society Mid Career Researcher award for her significant research achievements.
  • Amanda Paton’s appointment to the National Clinical Reference Group established to support implementation of the measures in Australia’s first National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse 2021-2030 (National Strategy) specifically relating to children with harmful sexual behaviours.
  • The PERCAN Workforce Development Team being awarded the inaugural University of South Australia Justice & Society Innovator award for the approach taken to the design, development and delivery of the course Understanding Childhood Trauma. This recognised significant innovation in the practice and administration of impactful Teaching and Learning.
  • Associate Professor James Herbert serves as an advisor for their Promise Barnahus Network, of which the ACCP is the only Non-European Member, and the Scottish Barnahus in Edinburgh, International Research Advisory Group. James presented research at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect conference in Estonia in June 2022.

To discuss potential projects, contact:

Amanda Paton
ACCP Deputy Director Practice

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