|Subject Code and Title||PUBH6012: Capstone B: Applied Research Project in Public Health|
|Assessment||Assessment 1: Report|
|Learning Outcomes||This assessment addresses the following learning outcomes:|
|Submission||Due Sunday following the end of Module 5 at 11:55pm AEST/AEDT*|
|Total Marks||100 marks|
Based on the feedback from your Capstone A Research Proposal, revise your research plan and GANTT chart.
Submit these to your Capstone A facilitator by Sunday end of Module 1 Week 1. You may not proceed with your data collection until this has been approved by your supervising facilitator.
The final assignment for this subject will be the write-up of the findings of your research into a final report. This will be comprised of the following parts:
This research report format has been based on the standard format for a journal article, and thus may be submitted to a journal in the future if the student is interested.
NOTE: due to the time constraints around submission and peer review, a submitted article will not be required as part of this subject. If you wish to develop a journal article, you may seek advice on how to do this at the end of the Capstone.
Policy review on Aboriginal child protection
The aim of the research project was to review the policy on Aboriginal Child Protection. Children of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in out of home care services and child protection policy due to their history of poverty, discrimination, forced child removals, assimilation policies, the stolen generation, family violence, cultural and economic impact, physical and mental abuse in Australia. Therefore, it is required to examine the reasons behind the above-declared issues and needs to take proper steps. Australian Government needs to establish a viable and effective Child Protection Policy.
Furthermore, the collected information will be represented in an effective framework that correctly presents the issues in this research. This research project will explore the National child protection Framework 2009-2020 by doing a systematic literature review of what policies are present and what improvement needs are there. Therefore, the project will identify the gap in the policies of the Aboriginal Child protection. The project aims to explore the effective outcomes to develop the right child protection policy for the native Australian people.
Generally, Child Protection Policy for Aboriginal people is a framework to protect the Aboriginal child from ant kind of abuses such as mental, physical or any other family violence. In Australia, children of Aboriginal people are getting more abuse, neglect, and harm compared to the non-indigenous people. According to the report published by the Health and Welfare Institute of Australia, 15% of the Aboriginal Children are physically abused, and 9% of the Aboriginal children are sexually abused (AIHW, 2019). Additionally, 17% of Aboriginal children are being neglected, and 59% of Aboriginal Children are emotionally abused (AIHW, 2019). The research project will discuss and analyse the National child protection Framework 2009-2020. The child protection services for aboriginal children are seven-time higher than the child protection services for non-indigenous children (Aifs, 2019a). The children of the aboriginal people may differ from the child protection act for mainstream children at the national, international, social, cultural, legal, and professional program level. There have many issues that contribute to increase the child abuse such as silence of the community, lack of trust and confidence in the Australian police. Further fear of the entire justice system, mistrust, government agencies that all are involved in developing a belief that sexual violence or family violence will not be taken under a punishment. The Australian government has developed National child protection Framework 2009-2020 (Aifs, 2019b) for providing proper security to the children and support the abused and neglected children in the country. The aim of the framework was to reduce the amount of child neglect and abuse and improves the responses of child protection. This framework is developed by the Australian government to address above-declared disadvantage issues, increases the strength of the particular community and culture and using the effective aboriginal community strategies to reduce the amount of alcohol abuse or domestic violence. The Australian Government has been introduced a Third action plan 2015-2018 to achieve the specific needs and requirements of the Aboriginal children (Aifs, 2019b). This action plan has been implemented by the Australian government to reduce family and sexual violence against children and women. This action plan also connected with the National child protection plan 2010-2022.
This research project focuses on the gaps present in the various child protection such as National child protection Framework 2009-2020, Third action plan 2015-2018 and National child protection plan 2010-2022 (Dss, 2019). The gaps in the literature refer to the non-consideration of the critical criteria such as the social customs, cultural beliefs and other similar criteria only exhibited among the aboriginal people.
3.0 Research design and methods
The methodology is the process that links the data collection, and data analysis process involves in the research (Johnston, 2017). The methodology is used to collect relevant information to make an appropriate decision. The researchers have analysed the collected information through Qualitative data analysis process.
3.1 Research Design
The explanatory research design has been adopted for the purpose of this research (Johnston, 2017). This project uses the data and information from existing sources of literature and uses them to arrive at a conclusion about the neglect and abuse of the aboriginal children in Australia which makes the explanatory the most appropriate research design for this project. The secondary data collection method of the explanatory research design also helps to obtain the aims and objectives of this research. This project is a qualitative analysis for which the consultation of the existing literature is necessary to ascertain the scope and outcome of this project topic. The explanatory design helps the researchers to do so. So, the explanatory design is used in this research.
3.2 Data Collection
The data collection for this research has followed the secondary method of data collection. This method pertains to the collection of data from the existing research papers, journals, books, peer-reviewed articles etc. to formulate research questions (Fletcher, 2017). The relevant keywords like the ‘Child abuse in Australia ‘Child abuse in the Aboriginal population of Australia have been used to find associated articles of the topic. A systematic data collection method has enabled the researchers to encompass relevant sources for the pooling of the data. The international databases such as EMBASE, PubMed, HealthInfoNet, Web of Science, Ebsco, Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Science Direct, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing, and Medlineplus, as well as articles searched using Google scholar have been used for the articulation of the reasoning for the child abuse and the framework has also been consulted to gain insightful knowledge about it. The discussions and arguments of these scholarly articles have provided with expert knowledge about the root of the child abuse and neglect. which was the original background for the review of the frameworks of child protection policies of Australia. The researcher has searched for articles by using keywords like the “Abuse of Aboriginal children in Australia”, “Child Protection Policy in Australia” to formulate an idea for the research basis. The qualitative nature of this research makes the use of explanatory research design and secondary data collection method, which is particularly effective for the purpose of the research aim. With the help of the articles searched through the keywords, the literature review is conducted. However, for the data analysis section, secondary data is collected from different policy frameworks found from different government publications and websites.
3.3 Data analysis
The comparison and analysis of the existing literature to formulating new conclusions is the aim of this project. The research questions have been formulated, and the arguments for this research are also based on the gaps in the literature for the articulation of the new conclusion and achieve the objectives of this project. Data analysis would also consider the thematic analysis of the data found in the documents (Mihas, 2019). The themes to be analysed would include existing breaches that policies fail to address, legislative analysis of the child protection practices in the indigenous community, the impact of aboriginal culture (positive and negative) on the existing policies, impact of home care policies in enabling or preventing child abuse instances and child protection policies enabling or preventing early intervention on child abuse. The conclusion of the analysis has formed and shaped the direction for the argument of the research questions in this project, and the analysis has provided validation of the research outcome.
3.4 Ethical issues
Since this research project has not used the primary data collection method, there is no possibility of infringement of the privacy of the interviewees or the leak of the data which limits the ethical implications of the data used for this project (Johnston, 2017). The only ethical implications of this project are that the sources and the authors of the publications must be acknowledged which has been done in this project. The other ethical issue which may arise is due to the misuse of the information other than for the intended purpose of this research. The researchers have taken special care to acknowledge and limit the use of the data outside of this research. As all the data which has been used here is freely and openly available, there is very less chance of infringement of privacy, data protection or wrongful use of data.
The data analysis was carried out primarily as a thematic analysis focusing on the major themes identified through the research objectives, as well as the literature review conducted previously by the researcher. The analysis was undertaken on the implementation plan of National Child protection framework 2009-2020. The major themes identified are as follows:
|Raw Data||Preliminary Codes||Final code|
|As per the Implementation Plan 2009-2012, under the COAG, also known as the Council of Australian Governments, is focused on the safety and security of the indigenous children in Australia.||Aboriginal child placement principles|
According to Aihw (2019), there are four major action plans under the legislation of Australia for the Protection of the indigenous children. As per the Implementation Plan 2009-2012, under the COAG, also known as the Council of Australian Governments, is focused on the safety and security of the indigenous children in Australia. There have been numerous challenges identified such as racism, sexual abuse and more. The policies have been based on the National Priorities and the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020 for the Public Health model. In order to address the existing problems related to child protection for the indigenous children in Australia, definitions and categories for abuse on the children have been identified and defined. The course of action has been planned according to the developed framework. Figure 2 aligns with the framework and the public health model. It may be mentioned in this context that the major codes include Safeguarding Code of Conduct, along with the Child Safety Code of Conduct. Additionally, the framework states historic laws are considered as the Code for child protection on the reservations. This theme has been selected to outline the major policies formulated by the government to address major national issue such as child abuse and protection, primarily governed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.
Figure 2: Linking child protection policies with the public health model
(Source: Aihw, 2019)
It is to be mentioned in this regard that the national Priorities are aligned with the framework, taking the activities into account. As per Scott, Lonne & Higgins (2016), the prevention of maltreatment of children can be explained with the help of the Public Health models, as is depicted in Figure 2. Haddon’s Matrix is proposed as an appropriate tool for the assessment of the risk factors playing a crucial role in the design of the intervention programs for child protection in Australia (Scott, Lonne & Higgins, 2016). Complex structural and social factors which thoroughly contribute to the maltreatment of children are taken into consideration as a part of the policies and frameworks designed for Child protection in Australia. The child protection policies mentioned above allows the public health authorities in developing new methods to tackle the different issues especially those are related with abuse and sexual harassment faced by aboriginal children.
|Raw Data||Preliminary Codes||Final code|
|The First Action Plan implemented with respect to the Child Protection Policy had agreed to establish the National Children’s Commissioner for the promotion of well-being, development and the rights of the children. In addition to that, the First Action Plan focused on the development of CAARS, also known as the Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support, the progress of Child Protection National Minimum Data Set and the national Framework (|
Common Approach to Assessment
The National Framework has chiefly outlined the major supporting outcomes for the child protection policy as:
The First Action Plan implemented with respect to the Child Protection Policy had agreed to establish the National Children’s Commissioner for the promotion of well-being, development and the rights of the children. In addition to that, the First Action Plan focused on the development of CAARS, also known as the Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support, the progress of Child Protection National Minimum Data Set and the national Framework (Tilbury, Hughes, Bigby & Osmond, 2015). The Second Action Plan chiefly focuses on the improvement and development of the major actions undertaken in the First Action Plan. Furthermore, in order to address the sexual abuse incidents occurring to the children between the ages of 0 and 14, there have been initiatives to keep the children safe and provide the best therapeutic support to the children (Aifs, 2019). The ICP, also known as the Interagency Code of Practice, has been an integral part of the frameworks involving the Third and the Fourth Action Plan. ICP is applicable across all circumstance of child abuse and takes every measure to prevent and address the issues through providing for safe home for the children and the Strategies are discussed below. From these, it can be understood that the action plans taken are quite helpful in not only reducing the number of incidents occurring, but also is helping children between the ages of 0-14 to create awareness on reporting abuse so that proper measures can be taken. It also shows an effective link between the action plans so that a more effective measurement is taken to deal with aboriginal child abuse issues.
The Third Action Plan chiefly focuses on three major strategies in this regard. Strategy 1 deals with the early intervention with the first 1,000 days of the child (Aifs.gov.au, 2019). Additionally, Strategy 2 outlines the key aspect of supporting children through the implementation and improvements undertaken in the out-of-home care facilities for the indigenous children in Australia (Aifs, 2019a). The major actions undertaken in this context has been identified as the review of the 2014 reforms, which addresses the key aspects of Transition to Independent Living Allowance (Aifs, 2019a). The final Strategy 3 broadly discusses the organisations and the activities which aim at providing the best services to the indigenous children in need by focusing on the development of resources and tools as the first priority, followed by identifying and addressing the prime barriers in the information obtainment by the Australian jurisdictions (McCalman et al. 2015). It can be deducted from these findings that in order to control and reduce child abuse incidents, early childhood intervention becomes an important milestone in the development process for aboriginal children.
The Fourth Action Plan identifies with four major Priorities to addressing the existing challenges in the provision of Child protection support for the indigenous children. Throughout all the stages outlined in the fourth action plans, 4 priorities are considered. Priority 1 discusses the scope and improvement of the outcomes for the indigenous children who are susceptible to entering the child protection systems in Australia (Aifs, 2019a). Priority 2 focuses on the segment of early intervention and prevention for child protection policies through active service planning and investment (Aifs, 2019a). Priority 3 outlines that the Child Protection policy would chiefly focus on reunification, as well as options of permanent care of the indigenous children, through the provision of out-of-home care facilities. Priority 4 undertakes the responsibility of the government and other jurisdictional bodies to prevent child abuse and provide appropriate and adequate protection and services for their well-being and reintegration into the community. From the analysis of the fourth action plan, it can be easily deduced that Australian government has taken initiatives to give enough protection to aboriginal children in improving the development process from the early childhood stages by prioritising the activities. However, even after the establishment of such action plans, aboriginal children are getting the required services to protect them. Even though it focuses on permanent care, in many cases, the permanent care is not provided or the number of indigenous children getting the permanent care is short which is undermining the action plan objectives. Therefore, a more strict framework is needed to implement the policies.
|Raw Data||Preliminary Codes||Final code|
|Children, who enter the child protection system and even through them, are likely to be extremely susceptible to developmental vulnerability by the time they reach the age of 5. Data from the AEDC or Australian Early Development Census|
Indigenous culture and population
According to the arguments made by Arney et al. (2015), it was established that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle which is about the children who have been subject to forced separations under various circumstances from their communities, families and cultures. Regardless, the argument claims that only 13% of the child protection cases of the indigenous population of Australia have been able to utilise the “Principle” for themselves (Arney et al. 2015). In addition to that, this claim was further supported by Falster et al. (2018), when it became evident that children who enter the child protection system and even through them, are likely to be extremely susceptible to developmental vulnerability by the time they reach the age of 5. Data from the AEDC or Australian Early Development Census have been used in the research carried out by Falster et al. (2018).
It may be mentioned in this context that there are numerous strengths identified within the indigenous culture and population, which aids in the implementation of the aforementioned frameworks. For instance, it has been evident over the years that country bonding or being a part of the same culture has been of utmost importance to the indigenous people in Australia (Rountree & Smith, 2016). In addition to that, it is to be noted that the culture is one of the chief factors which help in the bonding between these individuals. Moreover, the extended families have also been known to take care of the children in case the closest families are unable to do so. The Principle mentioned earlier focuses on these strengths discussed to improve the circumstances of the indigenous children undergoing Child Care facilities though the success rate is quite lower.
|Raw Data||Preliminary Codes||Final code|
|Major plans under the OoHC include Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, “The Principle” and more. The Second Action Plan outlines the National Standards which have been set to monitor and oversee the process of Out-of-Home Care||Effective delivery care for Aboriginal community|
According to Lindstedt et al. (2017), the indigenous children are at least 9 times more susceptible to be placed in a care facility under the child protection policies as compared to non-indigenous children in Australia. Major plans under the OoHC include Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, “The Principle” and more (Aifs.gov.au, 2019). The Second Action Plan outlines the National Standards which have been set to monitor and oversee the process of Out-of-Home Care states that the placement stability is limited to children between 0 and 17 years of age (Aifs, 2019a). It is to be stated in this context that National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020 considers it a priority to assist in the overall process of Out-of-home care, such that the children have similar opportunities as their fellow peers, as an approach to reducing the issue. Furthermore, the framework under the Second Action Plan considers providing effective delivery care in the process.
Figure 3: Rate of out-of-care facilities used by indigenous and non-indigenous populations per 1,000 each year from 2004 to 2013
(Source: AIHW, 2019)
Figure 3 supports the statement that the non-indigenous children are less likely to receive out-of-care aid like day care facilities despite numerous policies and frameworks developed to help them. Throughout the decade starting from 2004 to 2013, it has been evident that the number of indigenous children receiving help is less than 10 in every 1,000 (Aifs, 2019a). According to the reports of Davidson (2015), investigations conducted by the ACC or the Australian Crime Commission and the NIITF, also known as the National Indigenous Intelligence Task Force, provides evidence to demonstrate that the indigenous children are more susceptible to developing suicidal tendencies, as well as suffered from intentions of self-harm. Furthermore, the report avidly mentions that children from the indigenous communities are actively discouraged by their own families not to divulge or discuss the information regarding their abuse (Davidson, 2015).
The Action Plans formulated by the Australian government for the protection of its children, as well as aim at providing sufficient resources and expand exposure to the indigenous or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to prevent child abuse. An analysis of the four action plans have been adequately evaluated and are discussed, drawing a link between the literature reviews conducted on the subject.
In this context that the literature review for this research subject was chiefly focused on the major issues that plague Australia, in terms of child protection. In order to address the existing challenges, numerous interventions and policies have been identified with the existing issues within the communities. For instance, it has been determined that the major problems within the society include the lack of employment, marginalisation, dispossession and racism, among the major issues (AIFS, 2019). The AIFS (2019), mentions the cases of deprivation of children belonging from the indigenous communities, which have been taken into consideration for the thematic analysis.
Regardless, there are numerous other issues included as well. According to the Child Family Community Australia (2019), there have been gaps especially the number of child are abused, which section of the indigenous people are most affected in research on the issues of the indigenous child abuse and violence, which have been addressed through this study. Furthermore, this may be supported by the reports of Davidson (2015), mention the implementation of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, which focuses on the development and growth of the indigenous people. Additionally, the literature on this subject mentioned the facilities of support and care under the out-of-home strategy of the Action Plans. The Action plans have been studied in detail to comprehend the major Priorities, and the Action plans established by the government of Australia.
According to Tilbury (2016), the indicators for the identification and measurement of the risk factors for child abuse (within the indigenous community) are maltreatment of the children, combined with the evolving relationship of the Government with the service-providing organisations. It may be mentioned in this context that the findings discuss the major factors identified in adopting an appropriate definition of abuse. According to Aifs.gov.au (2019), child maltreatment has been categorised broadly into four major domains, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.
In this regard that the approaches to mitigating and addressing the child protection issues over a period of 2007 to 2014, can be made more sustainable for the programs for better outcomes (Tilbury et al. 2015). It is effective as it allows to study the issues faced by aboriginal children related to abuse and violence for a span of 8 years. Patterns of violence and abuse and the people responsible for it can be identified by studying the period of 2007-2014. In addition to that, another key aspect of the Signs of Safety framework can be evaluated through its implementation for the protection of families and children, especially, the indigenous community, who are more susceptible to be a part of the disturbing experiences (Salveron et al. 2015).
It has been identified that there are four major Action plans, relating to various aspects in child protection. For instance, numerous National priorities have been determined under the Action Plan 1, as the identification of the early symptoms and signs of abuse, which involves paying close attention to the behavioural patterns and a possible change in it.
Action Plan 2 chiefly focuses on the various aspects and aim at including them as Priorities. For instance, numerous events, namely, the rising incidence of domestic violence, disabilities, focus on mental health and others, have been regarded as the topmost priority for the intervention. Furthermore, emphasis on the implementation of performance indicators has been encouraged in order to assess the progress made by a patient or victim (Aihw, 2019). Moreover, it is to be noted in this regard that the Second Action Plan had been planned in accordance with the National Framework, which needed further reaching a wider audience within the indigenous community. This will provide a better and more detailed understanding about the various factors that cause and indicate the signs of child abuse which will identifying the case and provide proper support to the children. The Third Action Plan worked through the development of 3 major Strategies. Strategy 1 discussed the early intervention, preferably within the first 1,000 days of a child (Aihw, 2019). It may be stated in this context that the Third Action Plan had brought about a link or connection between the intervention and the National child protection plan 2010-2022 (Aihw, 2019). Furthermore, the National Framework focused on child protection (2009-2020) is also regarded as a major part of the intervention.
Strategy 2 focused on aiding the young indigenous children into adulthood who has been through the support systems through improving the quality, resources and access to the resources. Strategy 3 involved the better provisions from organisations for providing support for the children. The Fourth Action Plan was subdivided into 4 Priorities, each with the area of its separate action. Priority 1 was to improve the scope of outcomes for a deprived, marginalised child entering the support systems in Australia for child protection (Aihw, 2019). This was chiefly addressed multiple jurisdictions and legislative governance. Priority 2 involved improved investment and early intervention scopes, which was further characterised by the joint investment for 10 disadvantaged communities (Aihw, 2019). Priority 3 was to focus on the improvement of facilities for out-of-home care for the children, followed by Priority 4 which indicated on the capabilities of the government and relevant bodies to protect the children from imminent harm (Aihw, 2019). This action plan can help to provide proper protection to the children.
Summarising from the study, it may be established that the indigenous population, especially the children from the indigenous communities, have been found to be at severe risk of abuse and violence. It has been evident from the evaluation that only 13% of the indigenous children are able to gain access to the resources as outlined in the policy frameworks to provide to the aboriginal children to help them deal with abuse and violence. Additionally, the awareness and exposure to the same have been found to be quite limited in this regard. The Australian Institute of Family Studies in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has been noted to play a vital role in the planning, development and execution of the strategies and National priorities identified in this particular context.
The objectives for the research have been primarily established to be the identification of the implications of policies which were focused on the protection of the indigenous children in Australia. The secondary data collected for the qualitative thematic analysis, identified the major policies, interventions, Action Plans and National Priorities were linked to the National framework aimed at the protection of children from maltreatment. The major characteristics or features of child maltreatment have been evaluated through the government websites of AIFS and AIHW. It may be stated in this context that the policies were analysed. Other research objectives included the relationship of the policies in the prevention of child abuse through early intervention, which has been discussed as a part of the Third and Fourth Action Plan. Out-of-home care facilities had been in question as well, which have been thoroughly addressed through the Action Plans.
Taking the findings and conclusion of Tilbury, Hughes, Bigby & Osmond (2015) into account, it may be stated that the provision of sustainable programs implementing significant effort may yield better and more productive outcomes for the interventions and policies for child protection in Australia. Furthermore, as identified in the Action plans, the National Priorities and the National framework, it may be mentioned that raising the awareness of the indigenous communities (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) with respect to the interventions and strategies formulated by the government may help in improving the concurrent situation of the indigenous children regarding maltreatment. Furthermore, it has been identified by the AIFS that there are several instances of incest and other maltreatment prevalent among the communities of the indigenous population of Australia. It is imperative to undertake measures to prevent these occurrences. Moreover, it has been evident that reporting these issues often do not take place, and children are often discouraged by their own family members to do so. Hence, it is important to consider efficient steps to contradict the same.
The study chiefly focuses on the major policies formulated by the Australian government and other governing bodies. Each of the Action Plan and Strategies have been discussed in detail. However, the major limitations have not been identified and discussed with regard to the subsequent occurrences predominantly occurring in terms of child abuse. In addition to that, the analysis or the research has been conducted in accordance with the developed research objectives which did not specify particular policies and interventions. Thus, many interventions have been discussed and analysed accordingly.