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  • Writer's pictureHelen Haydock

Why Should Organisations Invest in Child Protection Training? (Part 1)

Child protection related training can be a hard topic for participants to engage with. In this blog series we are going to examine some of the challenges or barriers to engagement with this type of training, look at why we need to overcome these and explore some strategies to ensure all staff and volunteers working with children are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe. 

Before we do that, I think it is important to explain my own feelings about why this is important. Anyone who has attended a Growing Futures workshop recently will know that this is something I feel strongly about. The reason I established Growing Futures back in 2013 was because as a clinician working with children and young people it was clear to me that many people working day to day with children lacked basic knowledge around trauma informed practices and child protection. This often led to poor outcomes for children for example:

  • Inappropriate or incomplete reports to child protection.

  • Delayed referrals to services.

  • Inappropriate responses to disclosures.

  • Poor documentation.

  • Lack of appropriate support for children and families

  • Inappropriate responses to children’s behaviour

In addition to the impacts on children and families the staff themselves were also impacted, experiencing distress, frustration, feelings of helplessness and in some cases vicarious trauma.

Whilst Growing Futures was initially set up based on my early experience as a clinician, more recent experience has cemented my drive to ensure that people working with children and young people are suitably equipped through training. Research tells us that many Australian children experience trauma, which can have lifelong impacts. 62% of the Australian population surveyed for the Australian Child Maltreatment study in 2023 reported they had experienced one or more types of maltreatment prior to the age of 18.

Despite this, research from The Australian Childhood Foundation in 2021 found that:

  • 1 in 3 people do not believe child abuse is a problem that they need be concerned about

  • 1 in 5 were not confident of being able to recognise that a child was being abused or neglected

  • 1 in 6 who reported having witnessed abuse did nothing to protect the child or young person, leaving them in real danger.

Organisations working with children are uniquely placed to recognise and respond to children at risk of harm but to do this effectively all staff need appropriate training and support.

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