Beyond Safety: Ethical Practice Involving Children

Child safety is now a national policy priority in Australia. Beyond important and appropriate governance, policy and procedural responses, little is known about what constitutes ethical practice with children and young people, nor how this contributes to cultural conditions that promote their safety and wellbeing.

This Australian Research Council (ARC) funded study (DP180100465) aims to strengthen knowledge, policy and practice concerning ‘child-safe’ organisations by examining the role of ethical practice in improving children and young people’s safety and wellbeing. Ethical understandings and practice are being explored in three institutional contexts – schools, residential care and disability services. 

Research Design

This is a mixed methods study involving four phases:


Research Team

Investigators: Professor Anne Graham (CCYP, SCU), Prof Sally Robinson (Flinders University), Prof Tim Moore (University of South Australia), Dr Donnah Anderson (Charles Sturt University), Prof Nicola Taylor (University of Otago, NZ), Emeritus Prof Nigel Thomas (University of Central Lancashire, UK), Dr Mary Ann Powell (University of Edinburgh), Dr Antonia Canosa (CCYP, SCU), Dr Tess Boyle (CCYP, SCU), Dr Paola Castillo (Charles Sturt University), Dr Jenna Meiksans (University of South Australia) and PhD candidate Meaghan Vosz (CCYP, SCU).

A Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) is helping guide the research design, implementation, analysis and reporting of findings. They are working in close conjunction with an adult Project Advisory Group (PAG), chaired by Professor Judy Cashmore AO (University of Sydney), and comprised of key leaders in related policy and service provision.

Academic Publications to Date

  • Powell, M. A., Graham, A., Canosa, A., Anderson, D., Taylor, N., Robinson, S., Moore, T. & Thomas, N. P. (2020). Children and Safety in Australian Policy: Implications for Organisations and Practitioners. Australian Journal of Social Issues. doi:1002/ajs4.134
  • Powell, M. A., Graham, A., Canosa, A., Anderson, D., Moore, T., Robinson, S., Thomas, N. P. & Taylor, N. (2020). Child safety in policy: Who is being kept safe and from what? Social Policy & Administration, n/a(n/a). doi:1111/spol.12591

Other Outputs

PhD Project

Embedded within EPIC is a PhD research project by Meaghan Vosz titled ‘Participation is not enough: giving due weight to the views of children and young people in policy making in Australia’. Five young co-researchers observed over 100 policy workers and interviewed nine senior policy actors, then co-created an eBook about the practices they found to be associated with giving due weight: Through Our Eyes.

For more information regarding this PhD project, please contact