Championing organisational cultures of safeguarding

‘Championing organisational cultures of safeguarding’ blog article was written by Jacintha Condillac, Senior Consultant, Education and Safeguarding Services at Australian Childhood Foundation.

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, new state legislation including new practice standard frameworks such as the Tasmanian Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework, the revised Victorian Child Safe Standards and the implementation of reportable conduct schemes in Western Australia and Tasmania are examples of the growing recognition of the lasting effects of child abuse within organisations.

As organisations committed to children and young people, we have a significant role in scaffolding the changing legislative landscape of children’s rights, inclusive of safeguarding children. This is an exciting space to be in and one that will have lasting positive outcomes for Australian children.  

What we do 

Australian Childhood Foundation’s Safeguarding Services are designed to support organisations to meet their safeguarding children obligations.

The Foundation works in partnership with organisations to build their capacity to keep children and young people safe from abuse and exploitation by employees, volunteers and associated personnel.

Organisations as safeguarding advocates  

As organisations that act to keep children and young people safe, we have an opportunity to contribute not only at policy and practice levels but also at a broad systemic level to change culture.

There is the opportunity to lead broader change in the community by supporting the need for child-safe organisations that maintain a culture of child safety. 

An organisation that advocates for safeguarding children requires a child-focused risk management approach and an organisational environment that promotes transparency and supports those who have the courage to speak up for and with children and young people. 

If we view ourselves as child advocates, we position ourselves to speak up on behalf of or alongside a child who may be being harmed or is in a position where harm may occur. Importantly, as advocates, we also hold the privileged position of supporting children to feel safe and heard and develop creative, developmentally appropriate ways to support this. 

Children Rights  

Truly promoting the rights of children and young people within a safeguarding organisation requires the organisation’s leaders to embed children’s rights into every aspect of the organisation. Children’s rights to participate are embedded in the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and associated legislation and standards.

As advocates we can speak up and ensure that children and young people’s voices are included in organisational safeguarding frameworks and are entrenched in the everyday practices of an organisation.  

As part of the Foundation’s work in the safeguarding space, we have seen a multitude of creative ways where organisations have understood the importance of consulting with children and young people and created opportunities for young people to have a voice. 

“Embarking on our Safeguarding journey has enhanced the ways in which our school community provides a voice for young people. It has helped normalise conversations not only about significant and sometimes difficult matters, but the whole range of issues facing young people today. It isn’t always easy, but it is so important to support the development of these communication skills in young people. Safeguarding has also been transformational for our staff; what was sometimes seen as a compliance-based initiative has opened the door to rich conversations about how we engage with young people on all levels.” Tasmanian independent school. 

Advocating for and enabling children and young people to have a voice and to participate in decisions that affect them builds a culture that, together with a strong organisational approach to safeguarding, creates an environment that aims to protect young people from harm and abuse.

If you are based in Tasmania and would like to hear more about safeguarding and how the Foundation can support organisations, click the button below to register for our upcoming free information session.    

 For all other Safeguarding enquiries, please contact safegaurding@childhood.org.au.

Learn more about our Safeguarding Services 

The abuse and exploitation of children and young people by employees, volunteers and associated personnel within organisations can be prevented. Our Safeguarding Services are designed to help organisations build their capacity to keep children safe.