Frequently asked questions

Common questions about the Child Safe Standards.

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My organisation provides services to children but their parents/carers are always present. Do I still have to take action to comply with the Child Safe Standards?

Yes. If your organisation is included as the kind of organisation that has to comply with the standards under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005, then the presence of parents/carers when you provide services or facilities to children does not remove the requirement for your organisation to comply with the Child Safe Standards.

This is because the presence of parents/carers does not eliminate the risk of child abuse occurring in organisations, although it may reduce the risk.

For more information, see Who do the Standards apply to?

My organisation provides services mainly to adults and only a small part involves children’s services and activities. Do the Child Safe Standards apply to my organisation?

Yes. Organisations that provide services specifically for children are required to meet the Child Safe Standards, even if those services are only a small part of their overall services offering. This is because the risk of child abuse is present whenever children engage with the services or activities provided by an organisation.

The Child Safe Standards are not prescriptive. Organisations vary in size and structure and provide an array of different services and activities to children. The standards encourage organisations to develop an approach to child safety that works for them and is commensurate with the risks associated with the work they do with children.

For more information, see Who do the Standards apply to?

My organisation is small and made up mainly of volunteers. How can we meet the Child Safe Standards?

For small organisations with limited access to resources, implementing the Child Safe Standards may appear challenging. The standards are not intended to be onerous; they are designed to keep children safe from child abuse. They are also flexible, allowing you to tailor them to your organisation’s specific circumstances and the risks of abuse present.

Building a culture of child safety in your organisation will not happen overnight – this is the case for all organisations, regardless of their size. Keeping children safe from abuse requires long-term, genuine dedication, along with a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

Can the Commission for Children and Young People provide feedback on approve my organisation’s Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to Child Safety?

The Commission does not regularly conduct reviews or approve Child Safe Policies or Statement of Commitments to Child Safety at the request of the organisation. We can help answer any questions you have about the Child Safe Standards and provide advice on how they apply in your organisational context.

That said, in undertaking its role to monitor and enforce compliance with the Child Safe Standards, the Commission may decide to assess your organisation’s implementation of the Child Safe Standards which may include reviewing policies, procedures and systems or conducting inspections which may result in the Commission providing feedback, recommendations for improvement or taking compliance action.

For more information, see Our regulatory approach.

Does the Commission for Children and Young People provide organisations with Child Safe Standards accreditation?

No. The Child Safe Standards are not an accreditation-based system. They are designed to be adaptable across sectors, industries and organisations to allow a culture of child safety to be built within each organisation. 

There may be accreditation programs that incorporate consideration of the Child Safe Standards, however the Commission does not review or approve those accreditation programs. Consequently, receiving accreditation under a quality assurance program does not necessarily guarantee that your organisation is compliant with the Child Safe Standards.

If you are wanting to assess your organisation’s implementation of the Child Safe Standards, the Commission has developed an Implementation and Action Plan Tool that may assist with this process.

Can I work with another organisation to develop child safe policies?

Yes. The Commission for Children and Young People encourages similar organisations to work together to develop their child safe policies and procedures. This allows knowledge and experience to be shared, and also avoids unnecessary duplication of work.

However, it is important that your child safe policies and procedures reflect the specific circumstances and risks of abuse present in your organisation. Policies and procedures developed by or with other organisations may need to be adapted to ensure this.

Should the Code of Conduct apply to contractors and volunteers engaged by my organisation?

Yes. The Code of Conduct should apply to all adults engaged as employees, contractors or volunteers, and should apply to their behaviour towards and in the presence of children. It should take into account all of the activities and services you provide for children.

In my organisation, we require staff and volunteers to pass a Working with Children Check. Does this mean we meet the Child Safe Standards?

No, more is needed than Working with Children Checks. While the Working with Children Check is a useful tool for keeping children safe from child abuse, it is just a starting point. Screening and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse are just one part of the Child Safe Standards.

Working with Children Checks exclude people from child-related work whose criminal records and professional conduct records indicate they pose an unjustifiable risk of harm to children.

It does not show that a person is appropriate or has the right personal qualities, skills and experience to provide high-quality supervision or care to children.

For this reason, organisations need to implement additional human resource practices that ensure only suitable people are recruited to work with children. They also need to implement all of the requirements of the Child Safe Standards.

For more information, see Standard 4: human resource practices.

Does requiring my staff to undergo a police check mean I have met the Child Safe Standards?

No, more is needed than a police check. While a police check may provide useful and relevant information, it is just a starting point. Screening and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse are just one part of the Child Safe Standards.

Police checks detail criminal offences a potential candidate has against their name at the point in time at which the check is made. The Working with Children Check will only detail offences relevant to the safety of children, such as sexual, violent or drug offences.

For this reason, organisations need to implement additional human resource practices that ensure only suitable people are recruited to work with children. They also need to implement all of the requirements of the Child Safe Standards.

For more information:

  • about the differences between the Working with Children Check and the Police Check, see How is a police check different? on the Working with Children Check website
  • about screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel, see: Standard 4: human resource practices.

I employ children and young people in my organisation. Do the Child Safe Standards apply to my organisation?

It depends on your organisation’s specific circumstances. If your organisation must hold a Child Employment Permit, the Standards will apply.

If your organisation is not required to hold a Child Employment Permit, the Standards may still apply. Whether the Standards will apply may depend on the nature of the services and facilities your organisation provides. More information about the organisations to which the Standards apply is available here. For example, a charity that engages children as volunteers and is not required to hold a child employment permit may still be required to comply with the Child Safe Standards.

Young people are vulnerable in the workplace and deserve particular protection. Where the Child Safe Standards do not apply to a business or organisation that employs children and young people, we would support and encourage them to adopt child safe practices to keep their young employees safe from abuse.

Useful resources to support employers who engage young workers can be found at:

What does my organisation do if it suspects a child is at risk of harm within their family?

If your concern is that abuse is occurring within the family or the family is not taking steps to protect their child, you can make a report to Child Protection or Victoria Police. They will be able to provide the child and their family with professional support services, or if required a police response.

If you are concerned that abuse within the family may be perpetrated by someone working or volunteering with your organisation, this may fall under the Reportable Conduct Scheme.

When should I contact police?

All suspected child abuse must be reported to Victoria Police as soon as possible to enable them to assess the matter and take appropriate action.

A police investigation should take priority over any internal investigation. If a matter is reported to police, you must liaise with them about how to proceed to make sure you do not compromise their investigation.

If a staff member or volunteer engages in behaviour that is inappropriate towards or in the presence of children, your organisation must take it seriously, investigate it, respond appropriately and keep accurate records of how you handled it.

Does the Commission recommend any fee for service providers that can review an organisation’s compliance with Child Safe Standards?

The Commission recognises that there are fee for service providers that can provide meaningful assistance to some organisations who want to review or improve their child safe frameworks.

A range of fee for service providers undertake organisational reviews, help prepare policies and provide professional development and training in relation to child safety and abuse prevention

It is however not a requirement of the Child Safe Standards that organisations access this type of support. Many organisations take action to comply with the Standards without the use of fee for service providers.

We do not review the services offered by fee for service providers and are therefore not in a position to recommend any particular providers. If you are wanting to assess whether a provider is right for you, you can ask them to provide:

  • referees you can speak with
  • information about their skills and experience, in particular their experience helping organisations comply with Victoria’s Child Safe Standards
  • information about how they will ensure their advice is tailored to the particular risks of child abuse in your organisation and the particular services or facilities you provide.

If you are wanting to undertake a self-assessment your organisation’s implementation of the Child Safe Standards, the Commission has developed an Implementation and Action Plan Tool that may assist with this process.

Have a question that is not on the list?

  • Send an email to contact@ccyp.vic.gov.au or call 1300 78 29 78.
    If you need an interpreter, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact the Commission for Children and Young People on (03) 8601 5281
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