Improving Responses to Harmful Sexual Behaviours, WA Department of Communities

kids on a beach

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.

This Project comprises of a number of strands of activity, each comprising of one or more key areas of priority for the Department of Communities and/or the broader Western Australian government. The outcomes from the ACCP’s program of work across each of the project areas will inform the WA Government’s policy and practice responses, approaches and frameworks.

Activities undertaken as part of this grant will contribute to outcomes in the Western Australian response to the Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission), and fall into four strands of activity:

  • Strand 1: Analytics - Data mapping and planning, epidemiological data
  • Strand 2: Workforce development
  • Strand 3: System Enhancement - Policy and Practice Solutions for the WA Context
  • Strand 4: Specialist advisory and strategic support

Specialist advisory and policy support is a cost-effective way for the Department of Communities as lead agency for implementation of Royal Commission recommendations to draw upon the expertise of national and international experts in the work that it is developing and leading. It entails the provision upon request of expert advice drawing upon the content and methodological specialists within the ACCP.

As part of Strand 2, the first of a series of short courses is being developed for understanding and responding to HSB. This foundational course will be ready for release to all Department staff in the second half of 2022, designed for front line child protection staff including carers to undertake at their own pace. Extensive work has been completed within the System Enhancement strand, across two priority areas; the development of a Framework for Understanding and Responding to Harmful Sexual Behaviorus, and a research and discussion paper on Specialist Therapeutic Treatment Services.


Video link - A Framework for the "Continuum for Understanding Harmful Sexual Behaviours", presented by Amanda Paton, ACCP Deputy Director, Practice.

Layered Continuum for Understanding HSB