In this volume, the Royal Commission considered child sexual abuse in sport and recreational contexts and made recommendations to enhance child safety by improving the institutional responses to child sexual abuse in such environments.
Victoria’s sport, recreation, and arts sectors, at all levels, play an important role in detecting and preventing child abuse. The Victorian Government continues to work together with these sectors to improve child safety and to achieve cultural changes within the community that better protect the safety of children.
Partnership with Vicsport
To support organisations to comply with the Child Safe Standards (Standards), the Victorian Government continues its partnership with Vicsport, the peak body for community sport in Victoria, along with state sporting associations and state sport and active recreation bodies. This includes developing an extensive suite of resources to assist sport and active recreation organisations to proactively implement child safe policies and procedures.
In 2022, the Victorian Government provided further funding to Vicsport to deliver additional initiatives to support the implementation of the new Standards:
- development and promotion of 11 short videos to explain each Standard and how they relate to sport
- development and promotion of 11 online training modules for staff and volunteers
- development and promotion of 11 supporting fact sheets to enhance key messaging from the video series (in addition to an existing library of Vicsport child safeguarding supporting documentation)
- delivery of an annual industry forum to reinforce the importance of child safeguarding in sport
- ongoing delivery of interactive sessions to discuss topical issues regarding the Standards with those working in safeguarding children in sport, and
- delivery of child safe leadership training for board members and executive personnel to assist with extending the messages of child safety.
Vicsport runs a one-on-one Support Help Desk to provide assistance and advice to sporting clubs, leagues, associations and governing bodies regarding cultural change, policy development, change management and communications to address the Standards.
All sport and active recreation organisations receiving funding from the Victorian Government must comply with the Standards and provide an updated version of their child safe policy that meets the new Standards. These organisations, when providing services to children, must also be incorporated with an appropriate level of insurance that provides indemnity for liability for child abuse to comply with the Victorian Funding Guideline for Services to Children.
The Victorian Government continues its financial and operational support for the free national online Play by the Rules platform. The platform remains a key support and education mechanism for state and community level sporting organisations regarding child safety. Victoria saw 8,970 completions of online training modules via the Play by the Rules platform in the 2021–22 financial year.
The Victorian Government also continues to fund training delivered to Member Protection Information Officers, who play an important role in community and sporting organisations. They provide information and guidance on complaints procedures and are the first point of call for enquiries, concerns or complaints about abuse, harassment or other inappropriate behaviours. Funding provided ensures club and sport representatives that wish to volunteer in this role can undertake training without an associated fee.
Together More Active
Together More Active is a key Victorian Government program that provides support for Victorian sport and active recreation governing bodies to increase participation and enhance sector capability. Funding is available to organisations on the condition they meet several requirements, including being incorporated, complying with the Victorian Government’s Fair Play Code, and adhering to the Standards. Funding is available for a wide range of initiatives and projects, including those aimed at effectively promoting and embedding the Standards within their organisation.
In 2021–22, 71% of funded state sporting associations indicated they had used Together More Active program funds to provide training for, and/or to promote the Standards to their member clubs, leagues and associations.
Fair Play Code
The Victorian Government’s Fair Play Code is a code of conduct for sport and recreation in Victoria and outlines the standards of behaviour expected of everyone involved in sport and recreation. In 2022, the Victorian Government invested in a refresh of the Fair Play Code to ensure that individuals, clubs, leagues, associations and governing bodies understand their expectations around safe, welcoming and inclusive sporting environments.