Active Research

Creating safer futures: raising public awareness of child sexual abuse among young adults through digital storytelling

    • Response to child sexual abuse
    • Needs of victims and survivors
Research Topic areas 
  • Community awareness
  • Government & policy responses
Project Duration
Start: July 2023
End: July 2025
Geographical Scope
General communityWorkforce
Young adults (18-25 years)Adults (25-65 years)Older adults (>65 years)
All genders

Project Lead

Associate Professor Katie Wright, La Trobe University

Project Team

Sari Braithwaite, La Trobe University
Emeritus Professor Valerie Braithwaite, Australian National University


This project investigates how people can be encouraged to engage with difficult topics when the urge is to turn away. This will identify a new approach to raising awareness among young adults about child sexual abuse by creating a storytelling prototype suited to the digital media age.


A key objective is to find novel ways of having difficult conversations about child sexual abuse as a preventative strategy, a tool of de-stigmatisation, and as a way of supporting victims and survivors and recognising their valuable contributions to child safety. This project brings together advocates, academics from sociology, history and psychology, and specialists from the creative industries.


This project employs an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods and participatory research design. It includes a survey with survivor advocates, a workshop to design a digital storytelling prototype, and a survey with tertiary education students to measure engagement and evaluate the impact of the storytelling tool.

Significance and Dissemination

This project will generate new knowledge about raising awareness of child sexual abuse in ways that are victim-centred, trauma-informed, strength-based and collaborative. A fact sheet aimed at researchers and the creative industries will be developed to provide guidance on working ethically and sensitively with victim and survivors.

Further Details

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Funding body:
The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse
Funding budget:
$241,090 grant
Monitoring and governance:
This project is guided by oversight of the Project Advisory Group
Australian Human Research Ethics Committee:
This project is subject to ethical oversight by the La Trobe University Human Research Ethics Committee
Response to child sexual abuse

Evaluation of the Multi-Agency Investigation & Support Team

James Herbert
Centre for Social Impact - University of South Australia
David O'Shaughnessy
University of Western Australia
Understanding child sexual abuse

Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)

Jonah Rimer
The University of Queensland
Response to child sexual abuse

Effect of multi-agency deliberation on perceptions of risk in responses to child abuse and neglect

James Herbert
Centre for Social Impact - UWA

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