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Risk management and mitigation

Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse

Creating a child safe organisation begins with a clear, evidence-informed understanding of the potential risks to children in your setting. To reduce the likelihood of harm, think about and define the risks.

This means:

  • thinking about your organisation, its activities and the children it provides services to
  • planning how to make your activities as safe as possible - this is often called a risk management approach
  • being proactive to reduce the likelihood of risks emerging or escalating, rather than only responding when harm has occurred.

You must identify and carefully consider the particular safety risks that may affect children when they engage with your organisation, and put in place strategies to reduce or remove those risks. Your approach to child safety should be proactive and preventative.
Risks always exist for children when they access organisations – there may be some risks that are beyond your organisation’s control – but you must do what is in your power to reduce the risk of children being harmed when they are engaged in activities or accessing services provided by your organisation.

Ask yourself:

  • What could go wrong within my organisation as a whole or for any specific activity undertaken with children?
  • Are there any particular circumstances that expose children to risk?
  • Does the work you do involve bodily contact between adults and children?
  • Is there a low level of parental involvement?
  • Are there places where interactions between adults and children can be obscured from sight?
  • Are there particular circumstances where a staff member or volunteer could be left alone with a child?
  • Do you work with children who are particularly vulnerable?

Once you have identified risks attached to the work you do with children, you must carefully analyse them, and take steps to reduce the likelihood and consequences of the risk eventuating.

It is strongly suggested that you involve children and young people in the process of identifying and managing child safety risks, and that you communicate with children and young people about the measures you put in place to keep them safe.

It’s also important to note that reducing risks to children is an ongoing process. You need to monitor the strategies in place to reduce risk and be willing to incorporate the learnings that happen when things work well or don’t work so well.

Next read about Standard 7: Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.

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