Creating child safe organisations

Child abuse is unacceptable and ensuring children’s safety is a top priority for the Victorian Government.

Creating child safe organisations is a key component of the Victorian Government’s response to the report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations (Betrayal of Trust Inquiry). This work is focused on strengthening organisations’ approaches to preventing and responding to child abuse.

The Betrayal of Trust Inquiry found that while the majority of children are safe in organisations, there are inadequate and inconsistent approaches to child safety in child-related organisations across Victoria.

The Betrayal of Trust Inquiry provided 15 recommendations, which the government has committed to implementing, including the introduction of minimum standards for ensuring child-safe environments and an improved reporting and oversight scheme for allegations of child abuse (reportable conduct scheme).

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is leading the implementation of these two recommendations. For further information on other initiatives related to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry, please visit the Department of Justice and Regulation website (external site).

Child safe standards

The Victorian Government is introducing compulsory minimum standards that apply to organisations providing services for children to help protect children from abuse.

The child safe standards form part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry.

Legislation to introduce the child safe standards was passed by the Victorian Parliament on 26 November 2015.

The child safe standards apply to organisations from 1 January 2016.

Further information about the child safe standards, a list of in scope organisations and implementation timelines is available on the child safe standards page on this site.

‘Reportable conduct’ scheme

A proposed reportable conduct scheme will require centralised reporting of abuse allegations to an oversight body by organisations with a high level of responsibility for children.

Under a proposed scheme, an oversight body may undertake a range of functions to ‘keep under scrutiny’ child safety systems of relevant organisations, including:

  • referring certain findings to the Working with Children Check Unit in the Department of Justice and Regulation, triggering a reassessment of Working with Children Check eligibility
  • sharing information with key organisations where appropriate to ensure child safety and wellbeing
  • assisting in building the capacity of organisations to respond to allegations of abuse.

It is intended that the proposed design of the scheme will build on existing requirements including Victorian and national employee misconduct, professional registration, and reporting obligations.

The proposed reportable conduct scheme would not interfere with reporting obligations to police or with police investigations.

Further information

Please download the fact sheet from this page for more information about the child safe standards or the reportable conduct scheme, or email childsafestandards@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

For further information about the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry response, please visit the Department of Justice & Regulation website (external site).

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