Why we have Child Safe Standards

Last update: 24 January 2023

The Child Safe Standards provide a framework for creating child safe organisations. They are designed to drive cultural change to create, maintain and improve child safe practices. When organisations apply the Standards they build a culture where abuse of children is prevented, responded to and reported.

The Standards are based on the extensive research and consultation by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. They provide clear guidance for organisations to create cultures, adopt strategies and act to put the interests of children first to keep them safe from harm.

All organisations that work with children can implement the Child Safe Standards and continually work to improve their child safe practices.

Child Safe Standards

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1 Child safety is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture
  1. The organisation publicly commits to child safety and leaders champion a child safe culture
  2. Child safety is a shared responsibility at all levels of the organisation
  3. Risk management strategies focus on preventing, identifying and mitigating risks to children
  4. Staff and volunteers comply with a code of conduct that sets clear behavioural standards towards children
  5. Staff and volunteers understand their obligations on information sharing and record keeping
2 Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
  1. Children are able to express their views and are provided opportunities to participate in decisions that affect their lives
  2. The importance of friendships is recognised and support from peers is encouraged, helping children feel safe and be less isolated
  3. Children can access abuse prevention programs and information
  4. Staff and volunteers are attuned to signs of harm and facilitate child-friendly ways for children to communicate and raise their concerns
3 Families and communities are informed and involved
  1. Families have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their child and participate in decisions affecting their child
  2. The organisation engages in open, two-way communication with families and communities about its child safety approach and relevant information is accessible
  3. Families and communities have a say in the organisation’s policies and practices
  4. Families and communities are informed about the organisation’s operations and governance
4 Equity is upheld and diversity is taken into account
  1. The organisation actively anticipates children’s diverse circumstances and responds effectively to those with more vulnerabilities
  2. All children have access to information, support and complaints processes
  3. The organisation pays particular attention to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
5 People working with children are suitable and supported
  1. Recruitment, including advertising and screening, emphasises child safety
  2. Relevant staff and volunteers have Working With Children Checks
  3. All staff and volunteers receive an appropriate induction and are aware of their child safety responsibilities, including reporting obligations
  4. Supervision and people management have a child safety focus
6 Processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child focused
  1. The organisation has a child-focused complaint-handling system that is understood by children, staff, volunteers and families
  2. The organisation has an effective complaint-handling policy and procedure which clearly outline roles and responsibilities, approaches to dealing with different types of complaints and obligations to act and report
  3. Complaints are taken seriously, responded to promptly and thoroughly, and reporting, privacy and employment law obligations are met
7 Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training
  1. Relevant staff and volunteers receive training on the nature and indicators of child maltreatment, particularly organisational child abuse
  2. Staff and volunteers receive training on the organisation’s child safe practices and child protection
  3. Relevant staff and volunteers are supported to develop practical skills in protecting children and responding to disclosures
8 Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur
  1. Risks in the online and physical environments are identified and mitigated without compromising a child’s right to privacy and healthy development
  2. The online environment is used in line with the organisation’s code of conduct and relevant policies
9 Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved
  1. The organisation regularly reviews and improves child safe practices
  2. The organisation analyses complaints to identify causes and systemic failures to inform continuous improvement
10 Policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe
  1. Policies and procedures address all Child Safe Standards
  2. Policies and procedures are accessible and easy to understand
  3. Best practice models and stakeholder consultation inform the development of policies and procedures
  4. Leaders champion and model compliance with policies and procedures
  5. Staff understand and apply the policies and procedures
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