Raising concerns about child safety

How you can raise concerns about child safety under the Child Safe Standards

Organisations included in the Child Safe Standards are legally required to have policies, procedures and practices in place to comply with the Child Safe Standards.

If you have concerns about child safety at an organisation, there are a range of actions you can take:

Examples of child safety concerns

Here are some examples of concerns about child safety that could indicate an organisation isn’t complying with the Child Safe Standards:

  • My child has been harmed or abused by another child at the organisation and when I told the manager they told me it was not their problem.
  • A person engaged by an organisation has a proven history of inappropriate behaviour with children, but the organisation engaged them for a role with unsupervised access to children.
  • I asked the organisation for their Child Safe policy and code of conduct and they said they did not know what I was talking about.
  • An organisation has started a new service for children and young people however they have not thought about whether there are any risks of child abuse in the program and what strategies are required to reduce these risks.
  • Children in an organisation are told to be quiet, obey the adults and have no way to speak up if they are worried.
  • An allegation of grooming has been made about a volunteer, but the organisation has decided not to report it or investigate because the volunteer does such good work and has a good reputation.
    Note that this may also be reportable conduct under the Reportable Conduct Scheme
  • People in the organisation make racist jokes in front of the children, and make fun of one of the children’s culture and language. When I tried to make a complaint, they told me that it was just a bit of fun and children from different cultures need to try to fit in.
    Note that this may also be reportable conduct under the Reportable Conduct Scheme

Raising concerns with the organisation

As part of the Child Safe Standards, organisations that work with children are required to have processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse. Organisations also have other obligations such as having a commitment to child safety and a code of conduct.

Raising your child safety concerns by speaking with the organisation may be an appropriate starting point. The organisation may have a child safety officer, or other people who have the role of looking after child safety systems and being the contact point if there is an allegation of child abuse or inappropriate behaviour with children. You could also approach the head of the organisation who has the legal responsibility to ensure the organisation is complying with the Child Safe Standards.

Organisations should make their policies and processes for reporting allegations of abuse available to staff and volunteers, parents and carers, children and young people and members of the community.

If you don’t believe an organisation has been responsive to your child safety concerns, this could be a sign they are not complying with the Child Safe Standards.

Report a concern about child safety to the Commission or to other regulators

Some organisations may be regulated for the Standards by another regulator. You can find out more about the Commission’s co-regulators for Child Safe Standards on our pages Report a concern or allegation also Regulating the Standards.

If you are unsure about how to report your concerns, or who to report to, you are welcome to contact the Commission.

Where a person discloses information about the Standards to the Commission (or any other Standards regulator) in good faith, this does not constitute unprofessional conduct or a breach of professional ethics on the part of the person who made the disclosure. It also does not make the person subject to any liability in respect of the disclosure.

We are subject to strict legislated confidentiality requirements and our work can be highly sensitive. We will usually not disclose to individuals who raise concerns any further information about the actions we take. Any information we do share about Commission actions is limited by legislation.