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About the Standard

RTOs must have effective processes that:

  • support children to raise complaints
  • ensure that their organisation can appropriately respond to and report suspected child abuse.

This Standard emphasises the importance of complaints processes that are:

  • child-focused
  • easily understood by children and their families
  • easily understood by staff and volunteers.

RTOs must make sure they:

  • take complaints seriously and respond to them promptly and thoroughly
  • co-operate with law enforcement
  • meet reporting, privacy and employment law obligations.

How to comply

An RTO must be able to provide evidence that its complaints policy:

  • is easily understood, culturally respectful, child-focused and accessible to the full diversity of children, staff, volunteers, families and communities
  • covers allegations of abuse and harm to children by adults and other children
  • describes assistance provided to the complainant
  • outlines how risks to children will be managed when a complaint is raised and an investigation is underway
  • covers recordkeeping obligations
  • includes clear links to disciplinary policies
  • specifies that complaints can be raised when staff breach policies and procedures, including:
    • the Child Safety Code of Conduct
    • their obligations to act
  • states a reasonable response time for complaints and describes an appropriate consideration process
  • states when the RTO will report complaints to the authorities and cooperate as necessary with law enforcement.

Further evidence could include policies and procedures that show compliance with the relevant reporting, privacy, and employment laws.

Examples of compliance

An RTO complying with this Standard may have:

  • documented recruitment, induction or performance reviews for new or existing staff and volunteers that include the complaints policy
  • professional development or resources for staff and volunteers to communicate changes to the complaints policy or procedures
  • record management systems that capture, report and record complaints investigations data
  • communication resources that clearly convey the complaints policy and procedures to students, families, staff and volunteers. For example a student handbook, newsletter or website.
  • In complying with Child Safe Standard 7, an organisation must, at a minimum, ensure:

    • the organisation has an accessible, child focused complaint handling policy which clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of leadership, staff and volunteers, approaches to dealing with different types of complaints, breaches of relevant policies or the Code of Conduct and obligations to act and report
    • effective complaint handling processes are understood by children and young people, families, staff and volunteers, and are culturally safe
    • complaints are taken seriously, and responded to promptly and thoroughly
    • the organisation has policies and procedures in place that address reporting of complaints and concerns to relevant authorities, whether or not the law requires reporting, and co-operates with law enforcement
    • reporting, privacy and employment law obligations are met.

Reviewed 24 June 2022

Child Safe Standards

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