Frances Quan Farrant


Frances Quan Farrant is a graduate qualified social worker with a background in research on violence and people with disability. Most recently Frances has been working with the PWDA Project Advocacy team on Violence prevention and people with disability, including undertaking field research on family and domestic violence and people with disability. Frances has published independently and as part of the PWDA Advocacy team.


People with Disability Australia has been running a research project entitled ‘What makes institutions safe for children with disability?’ Children with disability experience far higher levels of violence than other children; international estimates suggest that children with disability are at over 2.7 times the risk of violence as their peers, and experience higher risks of sexual abuse as well.
Many professionals and experts have been called in to provide opinions on how to safeguard children, but few had consulted with people with disability themselves, who have substantial experience in various specialist and mainstream institutions, frequently as children themselves. Understanding this cohort to have valuable lived experience, Dr Jessica Cadwallader, Advocacy Projects Manager, Violence Prevention, and chief investigator on this project, set out to hold a focus group in each state and territory of Australia about what people with disability themselves thought would help keep children safer.
This paper will demonstrate that children with disability require particular consideration when developing child safe policies, procedures and institutions, and that lived experience is invaluable to this process. The insights gained through this project in some cases affirm the growing consensus about what is required to ensure that institutions and environments are safe for children. In many cases, they supplement these ‘mainstream’ ideas with detail about the specific needs of children with disability. And occasionally, they provide an important corrective to some of the assumptions made about the need to ‘protect’ children with disability, and about what it is that will keep them safe.
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