Keeping children and young people safe – stronger penalties for failing to comply with the Child Safe Standards

News 1 December 2022

New laws start on 1 January 2023, including stronger penalties for organisations that do not comply with the Child Safe Standards.

The Child Wellbeing and Safety (Child Safe Standards Compliance and Enforcement) Amendment Act 2021 will give the Commission and other regulators more powers to assess and enforce compliance with the Child Safe Standards.

Some of the key changes are:

  • new powers for officers including the ability to inspect organisations’ premises without notice, to assess compliance with the new Standards
  • new enforcement actions including official warnings, court injunctions, enforceable undertakings and the ability for a regulator to publish details about an organisation’s non-compliance
  • the introduction of a range of criminal offences and increased maximum penalties for non-compliance with notices and directions issued by the Commission.

You can find out more about these changes here.

The Commission will continue to focus on supporting and educating organisations about the Standards, and we will prioritise providing guidance and support for organisations who are yet to fully comply with the new Standards. As always, we will consider the seriousness of our concerns, risks to children and an organisation’s willingness to comply with the law when assessing what action to take. You can read more information about our regulatory approach here.

The new laws also change which regulators have a role enforcing the Standards and the sectors they regulate. The changes mean that some sectors will have a new regulator for the Standards. More information on who the Standards regulators are from 1 January 2023 is available here

What organisations need to do

Organisations should continue working to implement the 11 Standards that came into effect on 1 July 2022. The Commission’s guidance materials are available here.

If you have another regulator, you should also check their guidance material for information that is specific to your organisation. Click here for more information on other regulators.

If you’re still unsure, you can contact us for more information.

The Commission will publish more information about the new powers and penalties in the coming months. You can subscribe to our email list to be notified of any updates.

Click here to subscribe to our email list.