Active Research

Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse

    • Response to child sexual abuse
    • Disclosure of child sexual abuse
    • Identification of child sexual abuse
    • Needs of victims and survivors
    • Understanding child sexual abuse
Research Topic areas 
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Community awareness
  • Domestic & family violence
  • Drivers of child sexual abuse
  • Education
  • Harmful sexual behaviours
  • Intersection with other violence/victimisation
  • Mental health
  • Online abuse
  • Prevalence
  • Regional, rural & remote
  • Therapeutic responses
Project Duration
Start: June 2023
End: January 2024
Geographical Scope
Victims and survivorsWorkforceOffenders/those engaging in child sexual abuse
All ages
All genders

Project Lead

Professor Andrea de Silva, The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse
Dr Natalia Krzyzniak, The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse
Project lead email:

Project Team

Stacy Oehlman, The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse


General Practitioners and primary health workers and providers (the Primary Health workforce) work in an increasingly challenging and complex environment. They are central to contributing to improved short- and long-term health outcomes in communities across Australia for people with lived and living experience of child sexual abuse and/or adult sexual violence.

In July 2023 the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (the National Centre) commenced a research project to assess what practice-based resources exist for developing the capacity of the Primary Health workforce to better respond to children and adults who have experienced sexual violence and abuse. The review included consideration of work already underway via the Primary Health Networks Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) pilots.


This study aims to identify and review existing and relevant practice resources available to and tailored for the Primary Health workforce, examining resource development (including scope and process) to identify existing gaps and inform the development of future resources targeted to GPs and primary health workers.


An initial environmental scan of existing relevant resources available to and within the primary health sector considering work underway via the Primary Health Networks FDV pilots. Informed by the National Centre’s National survey of Primary Health Networks and stakeholders, it considered resources which were:
• Published and/or edited within the past five years
• Developed and/or adapted for the Australian context
• Available for specific priority population groups
• Locally developed, place-based responses and resources (considering intersectionality and accessibility)
• Provided in a variety of formats
The scan also examined the availability of similar resources that are easily accessible and may overlap or be duplication.

Significance and Dissemination

General Practitioners and the broader Primary Health workforce play a critical role in improving responses for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and adult sexual violence.

The research will inform the development of future resources across a three-year project ensuring they can be tailored to the context, role and operating environment of General Practice and Primary Health sector. These resources will assist the primary health workforce to develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and understanding needed to provide services that respond appropriately to victims and survivors of sexual abuse and violence.

Further Details

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Monitoring and governance:
This project is guided by oversight of a cross-representative Project Advisory Group, and the governance of the National Centre
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
Understanding child sexual abuse

The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study

Andrea de Silva
The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse

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