What’s new in Child Safe Practice in Victoria
By Annette Gillespie, National Lead Safeguarding Children Services
The Victorian Child Safe Standards were first introduced by the Commission for Children and Young People in Victoria with seven Standards in January 2016. A recent review of the Standards resulted in new Standards being added to strengthen child safe practice and align the Standards with other safeguarding frameworks such as the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. From July 1 2022, organisations in Victoria that are covered by the child safe legislation must now comply with 11 Victorian Child Safe Standards.
All Victorian organisations that are covered by the child safe legislation must meet their obligations under the new Victorian Child Safe Standards.
Who needs to know about the new Standards?
The Standards apply to all levels within an organisation from the Governance Board to Staff, Volunteers and Contractors in all physical and online environments – whether or not the organisation’s personnel are directly working with children and young people.
What’s new in the Standards?
In general, the Standards have been expanded to reflect the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
However, they also introduce a new standard (Standard 1) about cultural safety for Aboriginal children: ‘Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experience of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued’.
Other Standards have been strengthened. For example, there is a greater focus on:
- The requirement to embed the management of risks to children in organisational leadership governance and culture (Standard 2);
- Recognising the importance of young people’s friendships and encouraging support from peers (Standard 3);
- Understanding children’s diverse circumstances (Standard 5);
- The requirement to analyse complaints, concerns and safety incidents to inform continuous improvement and report findings of child safety reviews to staff, volunteers community, families and children & young people (Standard 10).
Where can I learn more?
The Commission has released a helpful Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation.
If you would like to learn more about how the Australian Childhood Foundation can support your organisation to develop a child safe culture and meet its child safe obligations, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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