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Making institutions child safe

Volume 6 of the Final Report of the Royal Commission in 2017 contains 24 recommendations for improving institutional safety for children. The Victorian Government accepted 16 recommendations, either in full or in principle, and noted 8 recommendations. You can read the 2018 Victorian Government’s response to Volume 6 here.

Child safe standards

The Royal Commission identified 10 child safe standards to guide institutions to achieve best practice in keeping children safe.

Victoria has already implemented the Child Safe Standards following the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations, Betrayal of Trust (2013). Victoria’s Child Safe Standards, and their implementation and oversight, align broadly with the recommendations of the Royal Commission but cover all forms of child abuse, not just sexual abuse.

Victoria has 7 Child Safe Standards that require organisations to place child safety at the forefront of organisational thinking and embed child safety in everyday practice. Victoria’s Child Safe Standards are underpinned by three principles that require organisations to consider the safety needs of Aboriginal children, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and children with disability.

Victoria’s Child Safe Standards were introduced in 2016, and have been in full effect since 1 January 2017. Victoria’s Child Safe Standards currently apply to approximately 40,000 organisations across Victoria that provide services or facilities to children. The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) provides independent oversight of Victoria’s Child Safe Standards and is empowered to enforce compliance. The CCYP also provides a range of activities and resources to assist organisations to implement and comply with Victoria’s Child Safe Standards.

To help ensure their effectiveness, a review of Victoria’s Child Safe Standards and the regulatory framework that supports compliance has started and will finish in 2019. Adjustments to better align with the Royal Commission’s recommendations are being considered during the review. The review is considering the implementation and operation of Victoria’s Child Safe Standards and regulatory framework in their initial period of operation, including how the roles, functions and powers of the CCYP and relevant authorities have enabled effective and coordinated oversight.

Victoria's Child Safe Standards

The Child Safe Standards

  • Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisation 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.

Underpinning principles

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

Online safety

The Royal Commission highlighted the need for a nationally consistent approach to support the online safety of children, as well as more comprehensive and relevant online safety education.

The Victorian Government is working closely with the Australian Government and other states and territories to establish a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse.

Victoria is developing new resources to better support online safety in the schools context, which will build on existing resources including the Bully Stoppers online toolkit, the PROTECT website, and eSmart which promotes a holistic approach to cyber safety.

The Victorian Government works with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to provide webinars to schools and students to help prevent online bullying.