Standard 1: Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued

Minimum requirements

In complying with Child Safe Standard 1 an organisation must, at a minimum, ensure:

1.1    A child’s ability to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights is encouraged and actively supported.

1.2    Strategies are embedded within the organisation which equip all members to acknowledge and appreciate the strengths of Aboriginal culture and understand its importance to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children and young people.

1.3    Measures are adopted by the organisation to ensure racism within the organisation is identified, confronted and not tolerated. Any instances of racism are addressed with appropriate consequences.

1.4    The organisation actively supports and facilitates participation and inclusion within it by Aboriginal children, young people and their families.

1.5    All of the organisation’s policies, procedures, systems and processes together create a culturally safe and inclusive environment and meet the needs of Aboriginal children, young people and their families.

Compliance indicators

This Standard places new obligations on organisations to ensure cultural safety for Aboriginal children.

Establishing a culturally safe environment takes time, dedication and meaningful engagement. Organisations need to commit long term and take meaningful action each year to keep progressing their compliance with Standard 1.

The Commission understands that organisations will be at different stages in achieving compliance with this new Standard. Foundation steps are provided to help organisations who are yet to make a significant effort to establish a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal children. These foundation steps help organisations identify the work they must do to comply with the Standard and build a plan of action.

If your organisation feels it is already well progressed in establishing a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal children, then focusing on the foundation steps may not be necessary. Further steps are provided so your organisation can build on the work already done to continue the journey towards becoming a culturally safe organisation.

The Commission will first look for compliance with the foundation steps. The foundation steps outline the changes required to policies, procedures and public commitments, but recognise that change in organisations takes time. The plan of action should outline the organisation’s path to reaching full compliance with the Standard. Further steps help organisations understand what full compliance with this Standard may look like.

What will the Commission look for when assessing this Standard?

Organisations will generally comply if they produce these documents and undertake these actions in a way that supports the organisation to achieve this Standard. The nature or characteristics of your organisation may mean you need to do something different to what is proposed below. Read our guidance materials for more information.

Foundation steps

Documents

  • A public commitment to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children is available and displayed for public access. (1.1, 1.4, 1.5 and links to 5.4)
  • Policies and procedures relating to child safety and wellbeing, including the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy, describe the organisation’s commitment to respecting and valuing Aboriginal children. This includes that:
    • staff and volunteers must encourage and support children to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights
    • staff and volunteers must actively support and facilitate participation and inclusion within the organisation by Aboriginal children and their families
    • racism will not be tolerated within the organisation and how the organisation will respond, including potential consequences
    • the organisation’s leadership has a responsibility to help everyone involved with the organisation to acknowledge and appreciate the strengths of Aboriginal culture and understand its importance to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children. (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5). See the definition for who makes up the organisation’s community in A guide for creating a Child Safe Organisation.
  • The Code of Conduct and position descriptions outline expectations of staff and volunteer behaviour including:
    • zero tolerance of racism and expectations that staff and volunteers will act on incidents of racism
    • that children will be supported to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights. (1.1, 1.3)
  • A plan of action sets out the steps the organisation will take by 1 July 2023 to establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children are respected and valued. (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5)

Actions

  • Instances of racism are consistently identified and addressed. (1.3)
  • The organisation identifies steps already taken to:
    • support, guide or train staff and volunteers and leaders to understand, respect and value Aboriginal culture and to understand the importance of this to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children (1.2 and links to 8.4)
    • actively support and facilitate participation and inclusion of Aboriginal children and their families (1.4)
    • recognise and celebrate Aboriginal peoples, their achievements, communities and cultures (1.2)
    • ensure racism within the organisation is identified and appropriately addressed (1.3)
    • create a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal children within the organisation. (1.5 and links to 5.4)
  • Identify actions the organisation needs to take to fully implement Standard 1, considering steps already taken and any gaps identified. A plan of action should identify the person or team responsible for taking action, the resources available and the timeframe. (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5)

Further steps

Documents

  • Policies and procedures, including the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy, describe the organisation’s expectations and provide detailed guidance about actions staff, volunteers and leaders must take to establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children are respected and valued. (1.5)

Actions

  • The organisation creates an inclusive and welcoming physical and online environment for Aboriginal children and their families by acknowledging and respecting Aboriginal peoples, communities, cultures and values. (1.2)
  • All children receive information from the organisation about cultural rights and the organisation takes active steps to encourage Aboriginal children to express their culture. When children express their culture, staff and volunteers in the organisation give them support. (1.1, 1.4 and links to 3.1)
  • The organisation takes steps to empower children in the organisation and provide them with opportunities to participate in a way that is culturally safe for Aboriginal children. (1.4 and links to 3.6)
  • The organisation provides culturally safe opportunities for Aboriginal families to participate in the organisation. (1.4)
  • The organisation provides members of the organisation’s community with:
    • information on cultural rights, the strengths of Aboriginal cultures and the importance of culture to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children
    • information on the connection between cultural safety and the prevention of child abuse and harm for Aboriginal children
    • opportunities to learn and express appreciation of Aboriginal cultures and histories. (1.1, 1.2)
  • Strategies that encourage the organisation’s community to acknowledge and appreciate the strengths of Aboriginal cultures are developed, implemented and embedded into the organisation. (1.2)
  • Strategies to prevent racism are implemented and incidents of racism are not tolerated. (1.3)

Learn more about Standard 1

Our Guide for creating a Child Safe Organisation has detailed information and advice on how to comply with each Standard. This guide is helpful for people who are responsible for implementing the Child Safe Standards:

If you’re looking for an overview of all the Standards and requirements, download the Short Guide to the Child Safe Standards. This guide is useful for people who are just getting started with the Standards, or people who have oversight of the Standards in their organisation.

The Commission also has a range of tools and templates to help organisations develop key policies, practices and procedures. These are available in the resources section of our website.