Creating child safe organisations
The Victorian Government is committed to driving cultural change in organisations across the state to make Victoria safer for all children.
Response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry
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.
For further information about the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry response, please visit the Betrayal of Trust implementation page of the Department of Justice and Regulation website.
Child Safe Standards
The Child Safe Standards are compulsory minimum standards that apply to organisations that provide services for children in order to help protect children from abuse.
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.
Guidance materials, tools and templates to help organisations meet the Child Safe Standards are available on the Child Safe Standards resources page of the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Since 1 January 2017 the Commission for Children and Young People is the oversight body for the Child Safe Standards. Further information about the Child Safe Standards, including a range of advice, resources and templates and information on the scope of the Child Safe Standards is available from the Child Safe Standards web page of the Commission for Children and Young People.
Tel. (03) 8601 5281
Organisations funded or regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services
For queries from organisations funded or regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services:
Tel. (03) 9096 0000
Schools and education providers
Information for schools and education providers is available from the Protect web page of the Department of Education and Training website.
Early childhood services operating under the National Quality Framework or the Children's Services Act 1996 should contact:
Licensed children's services enquiry line: 1300 307 415
Reportable conduct scheme
To improve oversight of how organisations respond to allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct, the reportable conduct scheme will be implemented in phases from 1 July 2017.
The benefits of the reportable conduct scheme include:
- identifying individuals who pose a risk to children, but do not have criminal records, and enabling them to be excluded from working with children
- independent oversight of responses to allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct against workers and volunteers in organisations
- building the capacity of organisations to respond appropriately and effectively to allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct.
The reportable conduct scheme will be administered by the Commission for Children and Young People.
The reportable conduct scheme will maintain the primacy of an investigation by Victoria Police of any allegations of criminal misconduct and will require allegations of suspected criminal conduct to be reported to Victoria Police. In all circumstances, allegations of criminal conduct must be reported to Victoria Police as the first priority.
For concerns about child protection matters, please visit the Child protection contact numbers web page of the Department of Health and Human Services website.
From 1 July 2017, allegations of reportable conduct must be notified to the Commission for Children and Young People.
What will an organisation need to do?
The reportable conduct scheme will require certain organisations with a high level of responsibility for children to:
- Ensure that the person in a relevant position of authority (such as the Chief Executive Officer) in the organisation is made aware of and reports any allegation of reportable conduct made against a worker or volunteer to the Commission for Children and Young People. In all circumstances, allegations of criminal conduct must be reported to Victoria Police as the first priority.
- Ensure appropriate investigation of the allegation. For example, for regulated organisations, the investigation may be undertaken by a government department or statutory body. For other organisations, the investigation may be in accordance with existing workplace investigation practices used to determine whether a worker should continue to be employed at the organisation.
- Report any findings and the reasons for the outcome of an investigation to the Commission for Children and Young People at the conclusion of the investigation.
For the types of organisations to which the reportable conduct scheme applies, see Reportable conduct scheme - frequently asked questions document below.
- Reportable conduct scheme - fact sheet (Word, 52.2 KB)
- Reportable conduct scheme - frequently asked questions (Word, 70.0 KB)
- Creating Child Safe Organisations: Consultation Report (Word, 288KB)
The Commission for Children and Young People is working with the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare for the implementation of the reportable conduct scheme. Further information will be available on this website and the website of the Commission for Children and Young People in the coming months.