Evaluation of Operation RESET: An initiative for addressing child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities

Glenn Mace, Martine B Powell, Mairi Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a qualitative evaluation of Operation RESET: a multi-agency child protection strategy for remote Western Australian Aboriginal communities. RESET is a proactive engagement strategy involving a mobile multi-disciplinary specialist child abuse team comprising detectives and social workers. It is underpinned by the principles that preventing and responding to child sexual abuse must be a shared responsibility, address the underlying causes and contextual issues and enhance children’s safety and well-being by empowering families and communities. The evaluation procedure consisted of in-depth interviews with 64 stakeholders of various backgrounds and affiliations who lived or worked in regions where RESET had been deployed for the past 18 months. Collectively, the interviews revealed strong support for Operation RESET’s implementation and outcomes. Stakeholders highlighted four elements as being valuable components of the reform: the programme’s proactive outreach approach, dedication to capacity building, holistic focus and the establishment of relationships that facilitated trust. These findings are discussed within the broader literature and suggestions for further research are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-103
Number of pages22
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Aboriginal communities
  • child sexual abuse
  • community engagement
  • proactive response
  • qualitative


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