Standard 7: Processes for complaints and concerns are child-focused

Minimum requirements

In complying with Child Safe Standard 7 an organisation must, at a minimum, ensure:

7.1    The organisation has an accessible, child-focused complaint handling policy which clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of leadership, staff and volunteers, approaches to dealing with different types of complaints, breaches of relevant policies or the Code of Conduct and obligations to act and report.

7.2    Effective complaint handling processes are understood by children and young people, families, staff and volunteers, and are culturally safe.

7.3    Complaints are taken seriously and responded to promptly and thoroughly.

7.4    The organisation has policies and procedures in place that address reporting of complaints and concerns to relevant authorities, whether or not the law requires reporting, and co-operates with law enforcement.

7.5    Reporting, privacy and employment law obligations are met.

Compliance indicators

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.

Documents

  • The complaint handling policy is easy to understand, culturally safe, accessible and child-focused. The complaint handling policy:
    • includes information on how adults and children can make a complaint and how the organisation will respond to and investigate complaints in a prompt and thorough way (7.1, 7.2, 7.3)
    • creates a complaints process that is accessible to the full diversity of children, staff, volunteers, families and communities (7.1)
    • covers alleged abuse and harm of children by adults and by other children (7.1, 7.4)
    • covers breaches of the organisation’s Code of Conduct (7.1)
    • sets out what support and assistance will be provided for those making a complaint (7.1)
    • outlines how risks to children will be managed when a complaint is raised and an investigation is underway (links to Standard 9)
    • covers record keeping obligations (7.2 and links to 2.6)
    • supports privacy and employment law obligations to be met. (7.5)
  • Documents, in print or online, describe the complaints process for staff, volunteers, children, families and communities. (7.1, 7.2)
  • Policies and procedures include information about when complaints should be reported to authorities, including Victoria Police, Child Protection and the Commission for Children and Young People. (7.5)
  • Disciplinary policies support the organisation to take action when a complaint is raised. (7.1)

Actions

  • The organisation makes information about how to make a complaint available and accessible to everyone involved with the organisation. (7.2, 7.4)
  • The organisation provides staff and volunteers with support and information on what and how to report, including to authorities outside the organisation. (7.1, 7.3, 7.4)
  • Complaints are taken seriously, meaning the organisation consistently:
    • identifies and manages any risks to children
    • responds to complaints promptly and thoroughly
    • prioritises the safety of children and also meets privacy and employment law obligations
    • supports everyone involved in the complaints process
    • reports complaints of alleged abuse or harm of children and concerns about child safety to the authorities and cooperates with law enforcement. (7.1, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 and links to Standard 9)
  • Records are kept of complaints made to the organisation, including concerns raised about the safety of children and disclosures about alleged abuse or harm of children, and actions taken to respond. (7.3 and links to 2.6)
  • Children, families and communities are consulted when designing and reviewing complaint handling policies and procedures. (7.2 and links to 4.3)
  • The organisation reviews complaint handling policies and procedures at regular intervals. (7.1 and links to 10.1)

Learn more about Standard 7

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.