Organisations providing services or facilities specifically for children in Victoria are required to meet Child Safe Standards.
Under Victorian law children have the right to feel safe and be safe all of the time. This includes when they access services and participate in activities in their community. Children have a right to be heard, particularly on matters that affect them – including how to keep them safe.
Child Safe Standards are designed to:
Organisations cannot assume that child abuse does not, and cannot, happen within their organisation. All organisations working with children must take steps to prevent abuse. The Child Safe Standards have been developed based on the evidence of what works to prevent child abuse.
Children’s rights need to be respected, their views welcomed and valued and their concerns taken seriously and acted upon.
Everyone who works in the organisation has a role to play – the board, executive, leadership group, employees, volunteers, students and sub-contractors – but they need to understand their roles and be supported to take action.
Generally a child safe organisation:
To find out more about each of the Child Safe Standards visit the Standards page.
In April 2012, the Victorian Government commenced an inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non-government organisations.
The inquiry’s final report, Betrayal of Trust, was tabled in Parliament on 13 November 2013 and contained 15 recommendations.
In responding to the recommendations in 2014, the Victorian Government committed to introducing Child Safe Standards for organisations with direct and regular contact with children. Other recommendations of the inquiry related to the implementation of a reportable conduct scheme and new criminal laws.
The Victorian Government stated that the purpose of the standards is to drive cultural change and embed a focus on child safety at the heart of agencies that provide services for children and young people – changing the very culture that led to abuse going unnoticed, disbelieved and unchallenged.