On 15 November 2016, new legislation was passed to amend the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (the Act) in Victoria providing the Commission for Children and Young People (the Commission) powers to oversee and enforce compliance with Child Safe Standards by relevant entities. The new legislation also outlines how the Commission will work with relevant authorities (the departments and authorities responsible for regulating and funding relevant entities) to ensure compliance.
Under the Act the objectives of the Commission are broadly to:
The functions of the Commission are broadly to:
In exercising its functions, the Commission will consider the most effective means of promoting compliance, and also liaise with each relevant authority to promote compliance.
Under the Act a relevant authority is defined as a department responsible for regulating the relevant entity, or that provides funding. It also includes the Victorian Registration Qualifications Authority, and any other authority that regulates or funds the relevant entity.
The Commission will liaise with each relevant authority before taking any action that assists with assessing compliance. It is anticipated that through the cooperative efforts of both the Commission and relevant authorities, most organisations will work towards full compliance with the standards.
Relevant entities can expect that both the Commission and relevant authorities and funders will play a role in overseeing and monitoring compliance.
Under the Act a relevant entity is defined as an entity or individual required to comply with the minimum Child Safe Standards.
Relevant entities include schools, hospitals, and other organisations or individuals that:
From 1 January 2017, all relevant entities will need to comply with the standards. To see a full list of the categories of relevant entities visit the In-scope organisations page.
The Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry in its Betrayal of Trust report recommended, among other things, that the Victorian Government introduce Child Safe Standards in Victoria to ensure child safe environments in organisations that work with children.
In the first instance the Commission’s compliance and enforcement approach focuses on supporting organisations to meet the standards.
There are a number of actions that the Commission can take if it is notified of a concern or complaint, or through its own inquiries and activities, it becomes aware that a relevant entity may not be compliant with the standards.For further information about what enforcement powers may be exercised by the Commission can be found on the Enforcement page.