When children are in the care of organisations, whether it be school, a sporting club, or attending a faith-based service, we expect them to be safe. Recent inquiries, both in Victoria and nationally, have shown us that this is not always the case.
We know now that abuse of children and trusted organisations is far more common than we’d like to believe. Sadly we also know that too many organisations have prioritised their own interest and reputation over children’s safety.
Others have simply failed to focus on what might create risks for children or to build the systems processes and culture to address those risks. This places children at unacceptable risk and needs to change.
Victoria’s Child Safe Standards work to improve organisations’ culture by embedding child safety in everyday thinking and practice. This has been shown to be one of the best ways to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place but also to make sure that any risks to safety are managed quickly and effectively.
All Victorian organisations providing services or facilities for children are required by law to comply with the Child Safe Standards. We understand that every organisation is different that’s why the Standards are not prescriptive and can be implemented in a way that reflects your organisation’s operating environment.
Broadly they require an organisation to: Some children can be more vulnerable to abuse than others. The law requires organisations to pay particular attention to the safety needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability and children from culturally and language diverse backgrounds.
We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that abuse in organisational settings is something that happened in the past or that it can only happen in other organisations. At the Commission for Children and Young People, we oversee investigations into allegations of sexual, physical and psychological abuse of children every single day.
We know that the impact of childhood trauma stays with many victim survivors for the rest of their lives. We all have an obligation to make sure our organisations are safe and inclusive and that they respond to children’s needs.
Implementing the Child Safe Standards is the best way to achieve this. For everyday actions and decisions you take are our best defense against the abuse and neglect of children. The Commission for Children and Young People stands ready to help you to implement the Standards.
We have a range of information and resources on our website and encourage you to contact us with questions. Because in Victoria, a safe childhood should be standard