Child Safe Standards
The Victorian Government has introduced compulsory minimum standards for organisations that provide services for children to help protect children from abuse.
The Child Safe Standards are part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry (the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations).
Organisations that operate in the state of Victoria that provide services or facilities for children must implement Child Safe Standards to protect them from abuse.
Training Organisations that are located in Victoria and deliver senior secondary education and training, or courses to CRICOS students under the age of 18, must have systems in place to:
- reduce the risk of reportable conduct being committed by a worker or volunteer;
- enable any person to notify the head of the organisation (i.e. the CEO, or Executive Officer) of a ‘reportable allegation’; and
- investigate and respond to a ‘reportable allegation’ against a worker or volunteer.
The Scheme requires the head of your organisation to:
- notify the CCYP of ‘reportable allegations’ within 3 business days after becoming aware of them;
- give the CCYP further, detailed information about the allegation within 30 days; and
- after the investigation has concluded, give the CCYP information regarding the investigation outcomes, including the investigation findings.
The Child Safe Standards came into force over two stages:
Stage 1 – Roll out of Child Safe Standards
- From 1 January 2016 the Standards applied to organisations that receive government funding and provide services for children
- From 1 January 2017 other organisations that provide services or facilities for children but don’t receive government funding are also required to meet the standards.
Victorian organisations are now required to comply with the Child Safe Standards regardless of whether they do, or don’t receive government funding.
Stage 2 – Roll out of Reportable Conduct and Organisational Duty of Care
The most recent fact sheet issued to Victorian state government funded RTOs and TAFEs advises that: Factsheet Reportable Conduct and Organisational Duty of Care
- From 01 July 2017 the Reportable Conduct Scheme commences in Victoria. It was introduced to enable an independent body, the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP), to have oversight over an organisation’s systems and processes to prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse.
- This will include TAFEs, training providers and organisations registered with the Adult Community and Further Education Board that provide senior secondary education or courses to international students.
From 01 January 2018, the Scheme applies to:
-Residential facilities of boarding schools.
-Overnight camps for children.
-Other disability service providers that provide services for children, including those registered with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
From 01 January 2019, the Scheme applies to:
-Approved education and care services (e.g. kindergartens, after hours care services).
-Childrens services (e.g. occasional care providers).
-Statutory bodies that have responsibility for children, such as public museums and galleries.
- Revise your organisations Child Safe Policy (you should already have this in place. If not this should be developed and implemented ASAP!)
- Develop and implement systems and processes to identify, respond to, investigate, and if necessary notify the CCYP of reportable allegations made against the workers and/or volunteers of your organisation
- Communicate with the staff and volunteers in your organisation to ensure that they understand their obligations in relation to Child Safety
- Ensure that the staff and volunteers in your organisation understand what types of allegations are reportable
- Ensure that the staff and volunteers in your organisation understand that any allegations of a reportable nature should be raised with the head of your organisation, for them to report to the CCYP; and
- Finally ensure that your organisation has developed and implemented processes to enable the head of your organisation to report allegations to the CCYP.
More information can be found at the CCYP’s website https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/reportable-conduct-scheme/
You might also find this overview of the Victorian Child Safe Standards quite useful – An-overview-of-the-Victorian-child-safe-standards_20170324
If you would like help with the development and implementation of Child Safe Policies, Procedures and Business Processes for your organisation please get in touch with the team at Audit Express today!