In-house research

The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study

  • Community awareness

Project Team

Professor Andrea de Silva

Dr Amanda Robertson

Dr Natalia Krzyzaniak

Associate Professor Dominiek Coates


Background and Aim

This study will address key gaps in our understanding of individual community members’ attitudes towards, knowledge of, and capacity to respond in relation to child sexual abuse, victims and survivors’ needs and harmful sexual behaviours (HSB) in children and young people.

The aim of this study is to:

  • benchmark Australians’ attitudes towards, knowledge of, and capacity to respond to child sexual abuse (including HSB in children and young people) and meet victims and survivors’ needs
  • develop a theory of change to inform the design of initiatives that lead to change
  • collect baseline measurement of community knowledge and attitudes required to measure the effectiveness of community awareness and stigma reduction initiatives.


This study is a multi-phased mixed method study, conducted across three phases:

  • Phase 1: Periodic population survey (n=3,000) – wave 1 (2023)
  • Phase 2: Qualitative exploratory study phase (2024)
  • Phase 3: Periodic population survey (n=3,000) – wave 2 (2025/2026)

From a holistic perspective, the proposed three-phased approach allows for:

  • the inclusions of two periodic surveys allowing for community attitudes to be tracked over time
  • a mixed method study consisting of a sequential explanatory approach. Sequential explanatory study design is characterised by two distinct phases: a quantitative data collection and analysis phase, followed by a qualitative phase. The aim of the qualitative phase is to help explain or elaborate on the quantitative results obtained in the first phase.
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