The Pursuit of Excellence in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect (PERCAN) in WA, founded from a $3,000,000 grant from Lotteries House, is focused on the research, development and implementation of cutting-edge, evidence-based therapeutic models for responding to child abuse and neglect across the WA context. This visionary new approach is aiming to build capacity within the sector to prevent, assess and treat trauma from child abuse and neglect.

PERCAN is governed by the WA Enhancing Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Executive Steering Group. The Executive Steering Group includes the Commissioner for Children and Young People and has senior executive representation from the Department of Communities, WA Police, Department of Justice, Department of Health, and WA Country Health. Representatives from both Parkerville, ACCP and the PERCAN Aboriginal Cultural Oversight Group are also members. The Executive Steering Group provides strategic oversight, monitors implementation and supports and guides the engagement of PERCAN with key stakeholder groups (government departments, non-government organisations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations). PERCAN governance also includes a Cultural Oversight Group.

At the forefront of PERCAN’s work is a desire and commitment to designing and developing a leading and evidence-based treatment approach for complex trauma. Sexual abuse and the impacts of abuse related trauma continue to be a devastating and significant problem, with up to 27% of Australian females and 12% of males reporting experiencing childhood sexual abuse. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that service systems in Australia do not have the capacity to meet the therapeutic and support needs of victim survivors, particularly noting the lack of therapeutic services for children and young people. Ultimately, it was found that there was a critical need for better evidence on effective responses to complex trauma and for high quality workforce development in the provision of evidence-based therapeutic services for abuse related trauma.

PERCAN operates across the following areas:

  • Co-Design & Development: Recognising the crucial importance of culturally competent therapeutic responses for Aboriginal children, a key program of work in PERCAN’s is centred on the co-design of a high quality evidence-informed therapeutic response to Aboriginal children with abuse-related complex trauma, which can be adapted for use with non-Aboriginal children.
  • Workplace Capacity Building: PERCAN is helping to ensure that practitioners who work directly with children and young people impacted by abuse are well-equipped to support them through providing access to high quality training in evidence-based practices for practitioners across WA. In response to the findings from The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, PERCAN is offering a suite of professional certificates, which develop the skills and knowledge of non-specialist professionals to better understand, assess and respond to childhood trauma. These activities will substantially increase the capacity of practitioners to provide effective intervention to child abuse victims across Western Australia. By focusing on treatment for children and young people, our aim is to prevent the lifelong and devastating impacts of unresolved trauma.