Frequently asked questions

Common questions about the Child Safe Standards.

My organisation provides services to children but their parents/carers are always present. Do the Child Safe Standards apply to my organisation?

Yes. The presence of parents/carers when you provide services or activities to children does not remove the requirement for your organisation to meet the Child Safe Standards. This is because the presence of parents/carers does not eliminate the risk of child abuse occurring in organisational contexts, although it may reduce the risk.

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.

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.

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 give me feedback on my organisation’s Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to Child Safety?

The Commission does not conduct reviews of 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 compliance with the Child Safe Standards, the Commission may conduct an audit of an organisation, and seek information about how that organisation has adopted and applied the standards.

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.

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

Yes. The Code of Conduct should also apply to all adults engaged as employees 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. 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 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 procedures that ensure only suitable people are recruited to work with children.

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

No. 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 all types of criminal offences a potential candidate has against their name. The Working with Children Check will only detail offences relevant to the safety of children, such as sexual, violent or drug offences.

However, a police check will not necessarily mean you meet the Child Safe Standards. 

More information about the differences between the Working with Children Check and the Police Check view the How is a police check different page on the Working with Children Check website.

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 Scheme applies is available here [link].

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.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has useful resources to support employers who engage young workers.

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, you can make a report to Child Protection. They will be able to provide the child and their family with professional support services.

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 must take priority over any internal procedure.

If a staff member or volunteer engages in behaviour that is deemed 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.

If a matter is reported to police, you must liaise with them about how to proceed internally to make sure you do not compromise their investigation.

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.

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

A range of fee for service providers undertake organisational reviews and provide professional development and training in relation to child safety and abuse prevention, but it is not a requirement of the Child Safe Standards that organisations access this type of support. We have not reviewed fee for service providers and is therefore not in a position to recommend any particular providers. 

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