Enforcing the Standards

The Commission’s role is to educate, support and regulate organisations that work with children to prevent child abuse

Regulator changes from 1 January 2023

On 1 January 2023, changes were made to who is responsible for regulating the Child Safe Standards. Find out more here.

Our regulatory approach

We take a risk-based approach to monitoring, assessing compliance and enforcement. Risk guides our decisions, our allocation of resources and our prioritisation. We believe that children should experience consistent levels of safety within organisations that we regulate. While risk will guide our decisions, our aim is to achieve the greatest possible level of compliance across a wide range of diverse organisations, not just those organisations that present the highest risk to children.

We take a graduated approach to achieving compliance by the organisations we regulate. In many instances, we can bring about compliance through education and support, with more significant sanctions being used for organisations that are uncooperative or that have repeated or serious failings in compliance, or where greater harm or significant risk of harm to children has been identified.

Recognising the diversity of those we regulate, we do not take a prescriptive approach to responding to risks of child abuse or reportable conduct. We recognise that different sectors and organisations need different approaches for them to comply.

You can find out more information in our Regulatory approach.

More information on our regulatory approach to the new Child Safe Standards, is available in our Information Sheet

The Commission and co-regulators

Preventing child abuse requires community-wide effort and the Commission cannot achieve this alone. Sometimes the statutory functions and powers of the Commission may mean we are not best placed to take action. In these circumstances, we will collaborate with co-regulators, government departments or Victoria Police.

Many organisations and individuals that work with children are overseen by co-regulators, also known as ‘relevant authorities.’ The Commission and co-regulators play important complementary roles in overseeing and promoting compliance with the Child Safe Standards.

We promote compliance with the standards by:

  • collaborating and liaising closely with each co-regulator
  • reducing unnecessary duplication of resources
  • minimising regulatory burden where possible
  • coordinating any monitoring and enforcement activities.

If the Commission is advised of a concern about child safety in an organisation regulated by one of our co-regulators, we may work with the co-regulator by:

  • informing the co-regulator about the concern
  • referring the concern to the co-regulator
  • working with the organisation, while keeping in contact with the co-regulator.

What are co-regulators?

Currently, the Commission has power to regulate all organisations that must comply with the Standards and works together with co-regulators (relevant authorities) to do this. Organisations that are funded or regulated by a Victorian Government department, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority or the Wage Inspectorate Victoria may have an additional regulator for the Standards. Legislative changes starting in January 2023 will alter these arrangements.

Some sectors that are regulated by a co-regulator include:

  • Early childhood education and care: The Department of Education, through its Quality Assessment and Regulation Divisionis the regulator for early childhood services. This includes long day care, family day care, outside school hours care and vacation care services, as well as limited hours and occasional care services.
  • Schools: Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is the Victorian regulator for registered schools, school boarding premises, school-sector providers of courses to overseas students, student exchange organisations, non-school senior secondary providers and registered training organisations (RTOs) that are registered with VRQA.
  • Social services: Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) is the Victorian regulator for providers of out-of-home care, housing services, family violence and sexual assault services, and support services for parents and families.
  • Health services: Department of Health is the Victorian regulator for hospitals, community health services, mental health services, drug and alcohol treatment services, and maternal and child health services.
  • Employers of children: Wage Inspectorate Victoria is the Victorian regulator for organisations that employ children and hold a licence under the Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic).
  • Other Victorian organisations: The Commission for Children and Young People is the regulator for the Standards for organisations where there is no specified co-regulator.

How we handle concerns about compliance with Child Safe Standards

We value the information we receive about potential non-compliance with the standards. We take a risk-based approach to our regulatory responsibilities. If we are advised of concerns about an organisation’s compliance, we may assess those concerns and could:

  1. make further inquiries about an organisation’s compliance with the standards
  2. provide additional education and advice to the organisation to improve its compliance with the standards
  3. collaborate and share information with co-regulators of the organisation
  4. begin enforcement action which may include issuing a notice to produce or notice to comply. The Commission also has powers to ask a Court to impose a civil penalty and/or make a declaration of non-compliance if a notice to produce or notice to comply is not complied with. For more information, see the page detailing Our powers.

We will consult with any relevant authorities (if any exist for that organisation) before exercising any of the following powers:

  • requesting any information or documents
  • conducting an inspection
  • issuing a notice to produce or notice to comply
  • making an application to the court.

Due to the sensitive nature of this work, we are subject to strict legislated confidentiality requirements. Consistent with these confidentiality requirements, we are usually unable to disclose to individuals who raise concerns any further information about the particular actions we take.