Young people's views on safety and preventing abuse and harm in residential care: “It's got to be better than home”

Tim Moore, Morag McArthur, Jodi Death, Clare Tilbury, Steven Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Young people who live in residential care are at greater risk of experiencing sexual abuse and other forms of abuse than those living in other out of home care placements. To better understand how young people perceive and experience safety in residential care, and the things that they most need to be and feel safe, a qualitative study was conducted with 27 Australian children and young people for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This paper describes young people's perspectives on what makes residential care safe: supportive relationships, stability and predictability, fair rules, and having some control over their environment. Young people said that safety could be improved with: better appreciation of the risks in residential care; better matching, staffing and oversight; and better-designed responses that involve young people themselves. The findings provide critical insights from young people themselves and argue that adults and institutions need to appreciate their views of safety so as to adequately respond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-219
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Abuse
  • Participation
  • Residential care
  • Safety
  • Youth

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