Child Safe Standards review released

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has completed a review of the Victorian Child Safe Standards on behalf of the Victorian Government. The review’s final report and further information on the review is now available: https://engage.vic.gov.au/victorian-child-safe-standards-review.

You can read the Commission’s submission to the review here.

The review found strong support for the Child Safe Standards and the current scope of organisations required to comply with them, as well as support to align the Victorian Child Safe Standards with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (the National Principles).

The review makes 15 recommendations, which fall into three categories:

  • amending the Victorian Child Safe Standards to align with the National Principles, with amendments to retain the concept of child empowerment and an explicit focus on cultural safety for Aboriginal children
  • amending the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 to more clearly define which organisations are required to comply with the Child Safe Standards, and who is responsible for regulating those organisations
  • amending the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 to provide a consistent suite of compliance and enforcement tools for regulators.

The Victorian Government has endorsed all 15 recommendations in the review’s final report. DHHS has not yet advised when these changes will be made. However, the review recommends at least 12 months for transition from Victoria’s Child Safe Standards to new updated Standards that reflect the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

What does my organisation need to do?

The current Child Safe Standards are still law in Victoria and remain mandatory for organisations in accordance with the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. Organisations in Victoria do not need to make any changes yet.

The National Principles are not law yet in Victoria and the Commission does not enforce compliance with them. This means that organisations must continue to comply with the Victorian Child Safe Standards for now.

The Commission’s Guide to Creating a Child Safe Organisation will help you to continue to build a child safe culture, you can download the guide here.

The Commission will send out updates on changes to the Standards made by the Victorian Government as a result of the review. Organisations are encouraged to sign up to the Commission’s updates to hear more about the changes: https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/contact-us/sign-up-for-commission-updates/

What if I’m interested in understanding more about the National Principles?

If you would like to read the National Principles to start to become familiar with them, you can access a copy here: https://pmc.gov.au/domestic-policy/national-office-child-safety/national-principles-child-safe-organisations

There are some differences between the Victorian Standards and the National Principles. However, the Commission considers that in practice, their requirements are similar in many ways.