Children playing at sunset

Our research has contributed to major reforms of Australia’s child protection system

Child abuse and neglect is one of Australia’s greatest social and public health crises. Its impact has been wide-ranging, devastating and intergenerational.

That’s why in 2004, UniSA established the Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP) as a joint initiative with the Federal Government to close the gaps between research, policy and practice, in order to transform the lives of the vulnerable.

Over the past 15 years UniSA’s ACCP has pioneered an evidence-based approach to national child protection inquiries and reform efforts.

UniSA’s world-first ‘research-action’ model has led to changes in national regulatory, policy and service systems, and has improved outcomes for children, families and practitioners. That includes direct, evidence-based interventions, in partnership with services such as UnitingCare and the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Prior to this, it’s estimated that up to 90 per cent of the practitioners in children’s services were not using evidence when undertaking interventions.

The evidence gathered by ACCP has made a leading contribution to every major Australian inquiry into child protection systems over the last 15 years, including the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  ACCP submissions have influenced new policies, such as the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.

Meanwhile, ACCP has overseen more than 150 child welfare projects, undertaking a multi-million-dollar program of research into the response to and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

ACCP’s influence has a wide reach. The Centre interacts with more than 5,000 practitioners in Australia and overseas, offering training, co-designed research programs and implementation support. Its ‘cultures in context’ model has been adopted by experts in the USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Norway.