Child safe standards

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Victoria has introduced compulsory minimum standards that will apply to organisations that provide services for children to help protect children from all forms of abuse. The child safe standards form part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry.

The child safe standards will apply to organisations from 1 January 2016 in phases:

  • Phase 1: Organisations that provide services for children that are government funded and/or regulated will be required to work towards compliance from 1 January 2016
  • Phase 2: Other organisations that provide services for children will be required to comply from 1 January 2017.

The child safe standards will be compulsory for all organisations in scope, but not prescriptive. This will allow the diverse range of organisations in scope some flexibility in how they implement the child safe standards to meet requirements.

More information on the types of organisations in scope of the child safe standards is on the In scope organisations for child safe standards page on this site.

Consultation to inform the development of the child safe standards occurred from late 2014 to early 2015 with approximately 160 government and community sector stakeholders.

The consultation report is available to download at the bottom of this page.

The child safe standards

The child safe standards are as follows:

In complying with the child safe standards, an entity to which the standards apply must include the following principles as part of each standard:

  • promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children
  • promoting the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds 
  • promoting the safety of children with a disability.

To create and maintain a child safe organisation, an entity to which the standards apply must have:

  • Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements
  • Standard 2: A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety
  • Standard 3: A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
  • Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
  • Standard 5: Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
  • Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse
  • Standard 7: Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.

Support for organisations

Organisations will be supported to strengthen their ability to prevent and respond to child abuse, and ongoing improvement will remain a focus of the child safe standards.

See the child safe standards resources page for guidance material and tools and templates to help organisations protect children from abuse and meet the child safe standards.

Information sessions about the child safe standards have been delivered from October-December 2015. A PowerPoint presentation from the information sessions is available for download on the child safe standards resources page. It is intended that further information and training sessions will be held from early 2016.

Please complete this survey to register your interest in attending an information session on the child safe standards.

Government will also work with key peak bodies to assist them to support organisations in their sector to meet the child safe standards.

Compliance monitoring

Organisations in the first phase are already regulated or funded by government and compliance with the child safe standards will be initially monitored through these existing arrangements. It is intended that any future oversight and compliance functions for the child safe standards that may apply to all organisations in scope would not duplicate or replace existing regulatory or reporting mechanisms.

The introduction of the child safe standards will not alter any existing requirements to hold a Working with Children Check.

Note for registered schools: a forthcoming Ministerial Order under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 will contain the minimum actions that schools must take to meet each of the child safe standards. There will be a lead in time before regulation will commence to allow schools time to prepare. The Department of Education and Training and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority will provide information and materials specifically for schools to assist with capacity building and compliance.

Further information

For further information about the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry response, please visit the Department of Justice and Regulation website (external site), or the Child sexual abuse prevention and response page on this site.

Organisations can contact the Department of Health and Human Services for further information about the child safe standards:

Telephone: (03) 9096 0000

Registered schools can contact the Department of Education and Training:

Early childhood services operating under the National Quality Framework or Children's Services Act 1996 should contact:
Licensed children's services enquiry line: 1300 307 415

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