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Governance and leadership

Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements

Strong and clear governance arrangements allow leaders to make sure child safety is a focus within their organisation.

This means:

  • leading from the top down and embedding a culture that makes child safety paramount
  • applying strong governance arrangements, documenting how duty of care responsibilities to children will be met
  • making child safety a top priority in your organisation’s operations
  • taking a zero tolerance approach to child abuse
  • respecting, embracing and supporting the diversity of children.

What does it mean to have a culture of child safety in your organisation or business? 

Having a culture of child safety is more than having a set of policies and procedures in place. It’s an attitude that is built into everyday thinking and practice within your organisation. It means that your organisation always prioritises the safety and best interests of the children you work with. You understand the nature and risks of child abuse and take deliberate steps to protect children, and are committed to removing all barriers to reporting child abuse. Having a culture of child safety is the best defence against abuse occurring within your organisation.

Building a culture of child safety requires the commitment of your organisation’s leaders. By routinely demonstrating their commitment to child safety in forums, such as staff and volunteer meetings, they will influence and guide the thinking and behaviour of other leaders such as board members, as well as staff, volunteers, children and their parents and carers.

The commitment of your organisation’s leaders will also ensure that the changes you make will be sustained over time – it’s vital that your organisation adopts an ongoing review and continuous improvement approach to meeting the standards and to always be doing your best to protect children.

Governance arrangements used by your organisation to set directions, to manage affairs and to make important decisions must always be clear and well communicated.  You do not need to make them complex, but they must be able to be understood and acted upon. What they look like will be different depending on the size of your organisation and the work you do.

Next read about Standard 2: A Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to Child Safety.

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