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    In Conversation — Introduction to harmful sexual behaviours: Understanding the language, where it occurs, what it looks like and how to respond

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    Event description

    Children and young people who have displayed harmful sexual behaviour require adults to better understand and meet their needs and addressing this issue is critical to intervening in child sexual abuse. 

    Guided by the expertise of four key speakers, this introductory conversation about harmful sexual behaviour will discuss the language used in relation to this behaviour, identify what harmful sexual behaviour is, where it occurs and what to do in response. 

    Challenge 4 in Here for Change, the National Centre's Five Year Strategy, highlights the change we want to see in harmful sexual behaviour in Australia. This webinar is part of a concentrated effort by the National Centre to support the translation of knowledge and understanding around this important topic.

    Date: Thursday 23 November 2023

    Time: 1pm-2pm AEDT

    Where: Online 

    Please note this webinar will be recorded.

    Featuring a live Q&A session with the speakers, all are welcome.


    Amanda Paton is Deputy Director, Practice at the Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP), University of South Australia. She is an executive leader and Clinical Psychologist specialising in child abuse, complex trauma, child sexual abuse, harmful sexual behaviours and Child Advocacy Centre methodology. Amanda is Co-Chair of Australia’s National Clinical Reference Group under the National Office for Child Safety and is responsible for leading the ACCP’s policy and practice solutions projects and the child trauma short courses and graduate certificate.

    Dr Gemma McKibbin is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Work at the University of Melbourne, working with Professor Cathy Humphreys in the Violence Against Women and Children research team. Gemma has a background in gender studies and a PhD focused on the prevention of harmful sexual behaviour carried out by children and young people. Along with an interest in harmful sexual behaviour, Gemma’s research focuses on preventing child sexual exploitation and dating violence, as well as on adult perpetration-focused prevention. She leads a number of child sexual abuse prevention and response action research projects, including Power to Kids with MacKillop Family Services and the Worried About Sex and Pornography project with Jesuit Social Services. Gemma specialises in trauma-informed, child-focused research interviews with vulnerable children and young people. She is passionate about supporting children and young people and providing them with a voice to government.

    Dale Tolliday's work with people who have sexually harmed others spans over 30 years. Dale is currently the NSW Health Sexual and Violent Behaviour Senior Clinical Advisor and The Sydney Children's Hospital Network Senior Clinical Advisor for Children and Young People’s Sexual Safety Program. He is also Honorary Professor of Practice at the School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong, and is based at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and NSW Ministry of Health. Dale consults, undertakes research and trains widely with individuals and organisations regarding prevention and responding to harmful sexual behavior by children, adolescents and adults. His professional training is in Social Work and Law and, in 2014, Dale was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in recognition of his work in this field. Dale is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers and a founding member and past President of the Australia and New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse (ANZATSA).


    Dr Joe Tucci is the National Centre Board Chair, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, a social worker and psychologist. He has completed a PhD in emotional abuse and uses post-modern and narrative ideas in research, counselling and training. He has a particular interest in the impact of abuse-related trauma on brain development and the implications for practice.  Joe has extensive experience in the provision of consultancy, clinical supervision and program development and evaluation.

    About the In Conversation series

    Hosted by the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (the National Centre), our In Conversation series brings together experts from research, law, policy and practice to explore how we can work together to reduce, eliminate and respond to child sexual abuse so that victims and survivors are believed and supported to heal and recover.

    About the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse

    The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (the National Centre) is a partnership between three respected organisations — the Australian Childhood Foundation, Blue Knot Foundation and the Healing Foundation. Established in late 2021, following a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the National Centre commissions critical research, builds the capability of workers and organisations and raises community awareness to reduce stigma. Central to this work is elevating the voices of victims and survivors of all ages, life stages and communities.

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