Standard 4: human resource practices

Develop and implement human resource practices that reduce the risk of child abuse occurring within your organisation.

Child Safe Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel

Strong human resource practices can help reduce the risk of child abuse by new or existing staff or volunteers.

Most organisations will already have some human resource practices in place but may benefit from a stronger focus on protecting children.

What do child safe human resource practices look like?

Key steps for strong human resource practices include:

  • promoting the organisation’s commitment to child safety
  • having clear duty statements
  • having robust recruitment and assessment to engage only the most suitable people to work with children and deterring unsuitable people
  • providing high quality supervision and professional development for staff and volunteers.

Promoting a commitment to child safety

Use your Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to Child Safety as a communication tool to let people know your organisation or business takes child safety seriously.

Talking about child safety regularly and having visible messages and reminders around the organisation can help remind staff and those using the facility or organisation of the commitment to child safety.

Job advertisements can detail mandatory requirements, background and screening procedures. This will establish at the outset the commitment of the organisation to child safety for all new recruits.

Having clear duty statements

Ensure that any roles on offer in an organisation have a position description attached to them. This should clearly detail the responsibilities involved in performing the role. Position descriptions are valuable because they help to hold staff and volunteers to account if it appears that they are behaving in a way that is unsuitable for work with children.

Robust recruitment practices

Having policies and procedures can help keep inappropriate people from working in your organisation or business.

Suggestions include:

  • have key selection criteria when you are recruiting, including for volunteers
  • consider why the person wants to work with children, their values and attitudes, their understanding of children’s rights and needs, and what keeps children safe.
  • screen potential staff and volunteers to identify and avoid recruiting people who are not suitable to work with children using a Working with Children Check, police checks, referee checks and identity checks
  • speak with at least two referees of any potential staff member or volunteer, including the applicant’s current or most recent direct supervisor.

Police checks and Working with Children Checks are useful tools but you should not rely on them as the only pre-employment screening measure.

High quality supervision and professional development

Providing a positive, supportive working environment will allow staff and volunteers to perform to the best of their ability and to provide a safe environment for children.

This could include:

  • induction for new staff and volunteers, including discussion about child safety and the code of conduct
  • formal and informal supervision and mentoring
  • training opportunities.