All children have the right to feel safe and to be safe all of the time. An agency, activity or organisation providing a child safe environment is one that has in place a range of strategies to ensure children are protected from harm.
As a parent, you are frequently choosing activities, services or programs for your child. To be confident your child is welcome and safe when attending an activity or service, you need to think about a range of issues.
Victoria has mandatory minimum child safety standards that apply to most organisations working with children.
All organisations working with children are strongly encouraged to ensure they have child safe strategies in place, even if the compulsory child safe standards do not apply to them.
You can check which type of organisations are covered by these standards at
Organisations that provide services for children that are government funded and/or regulated will be required to work towards compliance from 1 January 2016.
Other organisations that provide services for children will be required to comply from 1 January 2017. Registered schools have until 1 August 2016 to be compliant with the standards.
In complying with the compulsory child safe standards, an organisation to which the standards apply must also ensure they have a particular focus on promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal backgrounds and the safety of children with a disability. The information following helps describe what you should see in place and in action in a child safe organisation.
A sole trader is an individual with no employees or volunteers and who is not incorporated. Your child may have a maths tutor, a music teacher or counsellor that you pay directly or access on a volunteer basis. In these instances you can use the questions that follow to help your conversation with them and assist you to decide if they are a safe person and right for you and your child.
Although sole traders are not compulsorily required to meet the Victorian child safe standards, parents still need to feel comfortable that the person is safe and suitable to work with children. You can:
A Working with Children Check is vital but is only one part of being child safe. In Victoria, adults involved in coaching or tuition services of any kind specifically for children, counselling or other support services for children, Commercial entertainment or party services for children unless they are merely incidental to or in support of other business activities and clubs, associations or movements of a cultural, recreational or sporting nature, amongst many others, are required to have a Working with Children Check.
The status (valid or invalid) and expiry date of a person’s card or application will be shown. This service does not reveal any personal information about the applicant or cardholder.
Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, through effective leadership arrangements.
A Child Safety Policy or statement of commitment to child safety
A Code of Conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children.
Screening, supervision, training and other human resource practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel.
Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse.
Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse.
Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children