The dignity by design project: survivor-led system redesign
Needs of victims and survivors
Response to child sexual abuse
Research Topic areas
Government & policy responses
Justice & legal responses
Start: July 2023
End: May 2026
Victims and survivorsWorkforce
Young adults (18-25 years)Adults (25-65 years)Older adults (>65 years)
Professor Susan Heward-Belle, University of Sydney
Project lead email: email@example.com
Professor Judy Cashmore, University of Sydney
Professor Donna Chung, Curtin University
Professor Rita Shackel, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Ruth Phillips, University of Sydney
Dr Alison Evans, Centre for Women's Safety and Wellbeing (WA)
Dr Betty Luu, University of Sydney
Dr Sarah Ciftci, University of Sydney
Mary Jo McVeigh, University of Sydney
Patrick Shepherdson, University of Sydney
In partnership with survivors, this project will design, implement and evaluate innovative, place-based tools and resources to foster dignity-driven, trauma-informed, culturally safe and inclusive practice and policy development.
The project will seek to understand the messages that young victims and survivors have for practitioners and policy actors within mental health and alcohol and other drug services. Further, the contributions that participatory action research can make to policy and practice redesign and developments that better serve young victims and survivors who access these services will also be investigated. Finally, this project will examine the legislative, policy and practice barriers and enablers to dignity-based and compassionate responses to young victims and survivors.
Dignity by Design is a survivor-centred, participatory action research project that will build the capacity of policymakers, practitioners and service leaders to change systems that compound trauma. The project is a collaboration between people with lived and living experiences of child sexual abuse, professionals, policy and legal actors and researchers.
Significance and Dissemination
This project will generate new knowledge to better understand the needs of young victims and survivors. It will improve service design and develop innovative practice and policy tools that offer prevention and intervention pathways to protect and improve health and wellbeing.
Funding body: The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse
Funding budget: $249,866 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 University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee
The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (National Centre) respectfully acknowledges and celebrates the many Traditional Owners of the lands throughout Australia and pay our respects to ancestors of this country and Elders past and present. We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culture and lore have existed within Australia continuously for over 65,000 years.
We acknowledge the ongoing leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia and those who have and continue to work tirelessly to address inequalities and improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice outcomes for children and young people. The National Centre is committed to ensuring that the voices of those whose lives are affected by the decisions governments make should fundamentally inform those decisions. First Nations voices must be heard, raised and amplified through a Voice to Parliament. It is time for genuine and significant reform to progress healing through the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
We seek to honour the lived and living expertise of all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, harnessing all ages, cultures, abilities and backgrounds, and commit to substantially addressing the harm of child sexual abuse, now and well into the future. We recognise that there are children and young people today who are experiencing sexual abuse and dedicate ourselves to doing all we can to promote their effective protection and care.