New Child Safe Standards to be Implemented by 1st January 2017

September 9, 2016 - 6 minutes read

child-safetyNew compulsory minimum standards for child safety and protection were introduced on 1st January 2016 by the Victorian Government. The standards apply to organisations that work with / provide services for children, and need to be implemented by the end of 2016.

There are seven standards that need to be complied with which are outlined below. All the standards also need to reflect the three key principles of providing safety for children who are Aboriginal, culturally diverse, or disabled.

Who do the standards apply to?

The standards apply to a wide range of organisations that provide services for children, including churches. Apart from the churches themselves the ones that may be relevant for Churches of Christ include counselling services, sporting and recreation and entertainment / party services, disability services, gyms or play facilities, overnight camps, youth organisations, and charities / not-for-profits.

Standard 1

Development of leadership strategies to embed child safety within the organisation.

Aim: to ensure that child safety becomes an entrenched part of the organisation’s culture and is not treated as a separate issue.

Suggestions for implementation:

  • Enable senior staff to create child safe organisational culture.
  • Provide training on recognising and reporting of child abuse.
  • Ensure that the organisation’s policies, procedures and communications reflect a solid commitment to child safety.

Standard 2

Development of a child safe policy or public statement of commitment to child safety.

Aim: to clearly communicate the organisation’s commitment to child safety both internally and externally.

Suggestions for implementation:

  • Develop a clear communicable definition of ‘child abuse’.
  • Communicate a zero-tolerance for child abuse.
  • Create procedures for reducing the risk of abuse.
  • Define roles and responsibilities of adults that work with children.
  • Communicate your church child protection policy or statement through websites, annual reports and / or other types of media.

Standard 3

Development of a Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers that work with children

Aim: to ensure the organisation has a clear set of guiding principles for behaviours when working with children.

Suggestions for implementation:

  • Provide explanations of standards for conduct and appropriate relationships when working with children, and the consequences for breaches.
  • Ensure that all personnel are aware of the Code and have signed it.
  • Implement a Code of Conduct for children to sign outlining expected behaviour and explaining zero tolerance of abuse.

Standard 4

Screening, supervision and training of new and existing personnel.

Aim: to ensure new and existing staff and volunteers understand child safety and are trained to minimise the risk of abuse.

Suggestions for implementation:

  • Conduct Working with Children and Police checks on all personnel.
  • Develop good recruitment practices – for example, face-to-face interviews, background / reference checks, use of a trial / probation period, and a sound induction process.
  • Conduct regular assessment of organisational training needs.
  • Run regular training and educational programs for personnel.

Standard 5

Development of processes for responding to and reporting suspected abuse.

Aim: to encourage people to report suspected child abuse through appropriately designated channels, and to provide support to witnesses / reporters.

Suggestions for implementation:

  • Create step-by-step guides on responding and reporting.
  • Train personnel in how to report and how to identify signs of risk.
  • Take steps to ensure that people reporting feel safe and supported.
  • Implement a feedback and review processes.

Standard 6

Development of strategies to identify and reduce / remove abuse risk.

Aim: to take a risk management approach to potential abuse by identifying risks and implementing measures to reduce or remove them.

Suggestions for implementation:

Establish processes for the following –

  • Evaluating risks in situations or activities.
  • Reducing or removing risks.
  • Ongoing monitoring and review of the risk management process.

Standard 7

Development of strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.

Aim: to ensure children understand their rights to safety and that they feel able to safely report allegations of abuse.

Suggestions for implementation:

  • Provide age-appropriate information to children on what abuse is and about their rights to privacy and safety.
  • Advise children on how they can raise any concerns they have.
  • Gather feedback from children using various methods such as focus groups and story-time.

Where to go for more info

See links below for more information on the standards:

Victorian Commission for Children and Young People
Department of Human Services 

Also see our other articles on child safety on the CCI website:

‘Failure to report’ legislation
‘Failure to protect’ legislation
How safe is your church for kids?
Ansvar’s fact sheet on child sexual abuse
Responding to past allegations of abuse
How the ChildSafe system is free with your insurance

 

 

 

 

 

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