More than 160 children have been sexually abused in Victoria’s government run residential care program in the past two years.
Victoria’s independent commissioner for young people has demanded the government take action to protect children in its care.
Liana Buchanan said she had written to the Andrews government and Victoria Police warning children in state care were being routinely abused.
She said more than 423 incidents of abuse had been recorded for 165 kids in residential care since July 2021, when the Commissioner for Children and Young people handed down a major report into the problem.
Sixty four per cent of the incidents recorded since July 2021 involved under-16s.
Ms Buchanan said the Andrews government and Victoria Police were aware of the problem but had not done nearly enough to fix issue she had previously raised.
“It’s clear that without stronger action, children in residential care remain at extreme risk of harm due to criminal activity by adults,” she said.
“All of the communications are that it’s going to be a bad budget. But a bad budget for these kids will be devastating and it will mean they will continue to experience serious sexual violence and abuse.
“There are only so many reports of children being sexually assaulted in exchange for drugs or money that I can read without feeling that I need to speak out. We are letting them down because we are not prioritising their protection.”
She said children in residential care were being targeted with offers of drugs or money if they met up with predators in cars, homes or hotels.
A Department of Families, Fairness and Housing spokesman issued an apology, saying they were looking to employ more staff and to better train existing workers.