Standard 1: governance and leadership

Strong and clear governance arrangements allow leaders to ensure child safety is a focus within their organisation.

Child Safe Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements

Strong and clear governance arrangements allow leaders to ensure child safety is a focus within their organisation. This includes:

  • leading from the top and embedding a culture that makes child safety paramount
  • applying strong governance, documenting how duty of care responsibilities to children will be met
  • making child safety a top priority in the organisation’s operations
  • taking a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse
  • respecting, embracing and supporting the diversity of children.

What does it mean to have a culture of child safety in an organisation?

Having a culture of child safety is more than having a set of policies and procedures in place. It’s an attitude that is built into everyday thinking and practice within an organisation. It is the best defence against abuse.

For example, an organisation:

  • prioritises the safety and best interests of the children it works with
  • understands the nature and risks of child abuse and takes deliberate steps to protect children
  • is committed to removing all barriers to reporting child abuse.

Leadership

A culture of child safety requires the commitment of an organisation’s leaders. By demonstrating their commitment to child safety in staff and volunteer meetings, they will influence and guide the thinking and behaviour of board members, managers, staff, volunteers, children, parents and carers.

The commitment of an organisation’s leaders will also ensure that the positive changes it makes will be sustained over time. It is vital that an organisation adopts an ongoing review and continuous improvement approach to meeting the standards.

Governance

Governance arrangements to set directions, manage affairs and make important decisions must always be clear and well communicated. 

Organisations do not need to make them complex, but the arrangements must be able to be understood and acted upon. What they look like will depend on the size of an organisation and the work it does.