Being a child safe organisation

Organisations that provide services or facilities for children must implement Child Safe Standards to protect them from abuse

All children have the right to feel safe and be safe, but safety does not just happen. We all have an obligation to do the best we can to keep children safe from harm and abuse.

Victoria’s Child Safe Standards (the Standards) began in Victoria in January 2016. They are a set of mandatory requirements that ensure organisations have systems, policies, and practices in place to keep children safe from abuse and harm in organisational settings. Visit the 11 Child Safe Standards web page to review the Standards in detail. 

Why do we need Child Safe Standards?

The Standards exist to prevent child abuse and harm from happening in organisations.

They are a result of recommendations of the Victorian Parliament’s Betrayal of Trust inquiry and evidence of what works to prevent child abuse.

In 2012 and 2013 the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry investigated the handling of child abuse by religious and non-government organisations. Its report highlighted poor and inconsistent practices for keeping children safe. It found some organisations’ cultures did not focus on children’s safety and many failed to report or act on child abuse allegations.

In 2019, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found evidence of widespread sexual abuse of children in organisations. It proposed national implementation of Child Safe Standards and better regulatory oversight to support effective implementation.

In 2022 the Victorian Government introduced new Standards. The new Standards provide more clarity for organisations and are more consistent with standards in the rest of Australia. Read more about the introduction of the 11 Child Safe Standards.

What the Standards aim to achieve

The Standards aim to promote the safety of children, prevent child abuse, and ensure organisations have effective processes in place to respond to and report all allegations of child abuse.

The Standards work by:

  • driving change in organisational culture by embedding child safety in everyday thinking and practice
  • providing a minimum standard of child safety across all organisations
  • highlighting that we all have a role to keep children safe from abuse.

Victorian Child Safe Standards and the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (National Principles) are high-level principles that set out a national approach to creating organisational cultures and practices that promote the safety and wellbeing of children in Australia.

Each state and territory is responsible for implementing the National Principles or equivalent standards within their jurisdiction. In Victoria, the Standards reflect the National Principles.

Complying with the Victorian Standards will meet the requirements for implementing the National Principles. However, meeting the National Principles will not necessarily mean you are complying with the Victorian Standards.

Some organisations that work nationally or across state borders may also need to comply with different versions of child safe standards in other states and territories or the National Principles as well as the Victorian Standards. You can contact us if you have questions about this.

The Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme

The Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme (the Scheme) create distinct sets of responsibilities for organisations but have been designed to complement one another.

Together, they strengthen the capacity of organisations to prevent and respond properly to allegations of child abuse. Some organisations must comply with both schemes.

You can find out more about the Scheme and how it works alongside the Standards in our information sheet. Go to the Report an allegation web page for information on how to notify us about an allegation of child abuse.

Resources and tools

The Short guide to the Child Safe Standards provides an overview of the key concepts and requirements to assist organisations to comply with the Standards, including information on what the Commission will look for when assessing compliance.

For more detailed information and advice on how to comply with each Standard download A guide for creating a Child Safe Organisation.

You can explore a range of tools and templates to help your organisation develop key policies, practices, and procedures.

There are information sheets on the Standards available in plain English and 19 community languages, as well as resources for parent and carers and resources for children and young people.

The Commission is one of six regulators of the Standards. Some regulators have issued specific guidance on the Standards for the sectors they regulate. Information about who regulates the Standards and links to further guidance is available on our Regulating the Standards page.