22 June 2023

Life Without Barriers receives funding to enhance support for vulnerable youth.

Image: A young person sitting on a step surrounded by leaves. They are wearing a blue hoodie.

Life Without Barriers, a leading organisation dedicated to supporting vulnerable youth, has been awarded a significant grant from the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (National Centre) for a crucial evaluation project.

The grant will enable Life Without Barriers to assess and enhance the effectiveness of their "Understanding Harmful Sexual Behaviour" education program in residential care settings. This project aims to ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people in out-of-home care by increasing understanding and appropriate responses to harmful sexual behaviour.

Residential care settings pose unique challenges, and young people residing in these environments are at a higher risk of experiencing and engaging in harmful sexual behaviour. Recognising the importance of addressing this issue, Life Without Barriers has developed an education program specifically designed to equip staff with the knowledge and skills to identify and respond appropriately to such behaviour.

Over a 12-month period, the Life Without Barriers dedicated project team, in collaboration with their academic partner, will collect and analyse data across several states and territories, generating insights to inform best practices. By building knowledge and capacity, Life Without Barriers aims to create a positive and supportive environment that safeguards young people in out-of-home care. The project is led by Melinda Clarke, Manager, Child Safe Organisation at Life Without Barriers.

Image: A close-up photo of a young person with long brown hair.

“Young people in residential care face increased risks associated with harmful sexual behaviour. We need effective ways to prevent and respond appropriately to avoid further trauma.“ Ms Clarke said today.

“By evaluating the effectiveness of the education program, and identifying areas for improvement, we’re seeking to foster safer environments for children and young people in care.”

Through this evaluation project, Life Without Barriers demonstrates its commitment to continuous quality improvement and evidence-based practices. The grant received from the National Centre provides the necessary support to undertake this crucial evaluation, highlighting the organisation's dedication to addressing the complex needs of vulnerable youth.

Life Without Barriers anticipates that the outcomes of this evaluation project will not only contribute to the enhancement of Life Without Barriers programs - but also serve as a valuable resource for the wider sector, promoting knowledge-sharing and driving systemic change.

By addressing harmful sexual behaviour in residential care settings, Life Without Barriers continues its mission to provide the highest standards of care and support for vulnerable youth, ultimately creating brighter futures for those in their care.

National Centre media release: 'Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting - The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse.

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