Active Research

Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting

    • Response to child sexual abuse
    • Identification of child sexual abuse
    • Needs of victims and survivors
    • Prevention of child sexual abuse
Research Topic areas 
  • Education
  • Harmful sexual behaviours
  • Institutional abuse
  • Out-of-home care
Project Duration
Start: July 2023
End: September 2024
Geographical Scope
Parents & caregiversWorkforce
Young adults (18-25 years)Adults (25-65 years)Older adults (>65 years)
All genders

Project Lead

Melinda Clarke, Life Without Barriers
Project lead email:

Project Team

Cathy Webb, Life Without Barriers
Marina Dickson, Life Without Barriers
James Dalesio, Life Without Barriers


This project aims to evaluate the outcomes of Life Without Barriers’ Understanding Harmful Sexual Behaviour education program in a residential care setting.


The program’s goals are to increase understanding of, and capacity to identify and respond appropriately to, harmful sexual behaviour among children and young people in out-of-home-care.


The project will explore the effectiveness of the training program at impacting staff knowledge and behaviour. With the support of our academic partner, we will design a methodology drawing on survey, interviews, and examination of records, involving the participation of over 120 direct support staff in residential care teams, in six locations across Australia.

Significance and Dissemination

Young people in residential care are at higher risk of engaging in, and being impacted by, harmful sexual behaviour than the broader population. The capability of individuals and organisations to prevent and respond appropriately to harmful sexual behaviour is crucial to preventing and mitigating further trauma to children and young people in residential care.

Further Details

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Funding body:
The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse
Funding budget:
$35,000 grant
Monitoring and governance:
This project is guided by oversight of the Project Advisory Group and organisational governance of Life Without Barriers
Australian Human Research Ethics Committee:
This project is subject to ethical oversight by the University of the Sunshine Coast 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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