All levels of Victorian sport, recreation, arts, cultural and creative industry organisations, from grassroots through to state governing bodies, play an important role in preventing, detecting and eliminating child abuse within the community. The Victorian Government is working closely with the sport and active recreation sector and the arts sector to enhance child safety practices and promote cultural change through several initiatives that are managed by Creative, Sport and Visitor Economy (CSVE) groups including Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) and Creative Victoria (CV).
Child safe Victorian Government supported organisations
It is a Victorian Government requirement that all organisations funded by the Victorian Government have the right systems, processes and culture in place to prevent abuse and respond properly to allegations of abuse within the organisation. Sport, recreation, arts, cultural and creative industry organisations that provide services to children must comply with Victoria’s Child Safe Standards.
The Victorian Government requires that all recognised and funded state governing sport and active recreation bodies:
- meet legislative requirements of the Child Safe Standards
- implement and maintain policies relating to child safety, and
- adhere to and promote the Fair Play Code.
The Victorian Government invests in several initiatives to support organisations to meet the requirements of the Child Safe Standards, including:
Targeted child safe resources for sport and recreation organisations
The Victorian Government has a strong and successful partnership with Vicsport, the peak body for sport and active recreation in Victoria. With Victorian Government support, Vicsport invests significant resourcing to support child safety in the community through:
- delivery of an annual Child Safe Sport Forum, providing updates and insight on topical issues and high-level compliance information to the sport sector
- coordination of a Child Safe Sport Working Group consisting of select State Sporting Associations (SSAs) and SRV to consider strategic matters, share information, identify ongoing challenges or concerns and recognise ways to work collaboratively on child safety
- regular Child Safe workshops for SSAs to discuss issues and share ideas and information on Child Safe policy
- one-on-one support to all Victorian sport and active recreation organisations to identify and implement appropriate steps to comply with Victoria's Child Safe Standards, and
- ongoing administration of a Child Safe Sport Help Desk, offering assistance in the form of cultural change methods, policy development, change management and communication support for all Victoria's sport and active recreation organisations and clubs.
A key support mechanism assisting state- and community-level sporting organisations to prevent and respond to child abuse is the Play by the Rules platform. The national platform is supported by all Australian state and territory sport and recreation departments, and provides tools, courses, information and advice to support local communities in making sporting environments safe for children.
In 2019, the platform was accessed over 43,000 times by Victorians seeking additional information to support a safe, fair and inclusive sporting environment.
Fair Play Code
In 2017 the Victorian Government introduced the Fair Play Code - a code of conduct for sport and recreation in Victoria. The Fair Play Code outlines the standards of behaviour expected for everyone involved in sport and recreation from grassroots through to high performance.
The Fair Play Code embeds child safety within each of the five guiding principles of Fairness, Safety, Respect, Integrity and Responsibility.
The Fair Play Code Self-Assessment Tool for organisations providing services to children in sporting environments further highlights the need to implement and monitor child safe policies and practices. The Tool assists governing boards, administrators and volunteers to prioritise child safety in decision-making.
All recognised and funded state governing sport and active recreation bodies are required to adhere to and promote the Fair Play Code.