What are the Child Safe Standards?
On the 1st of December 2015, the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Act 2015 passed Victoria’s parliament. This Act amended the following Victorian Acts:
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005;
- Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012; and
- Education and Training Reform Act 2006.
This new legislation allowed the Victorian government to make standards in relation to child safety with which certain entities must comply.
Which entities do the Child Safe Standards apply to and when?
The Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 breaks entities in to two categories. These two categories define which entities the Child Safe Standards will apply to and when:
Category 1 entities that must comply by 1 January 2016:
- registered schools (government and non-government);
- approved education and care services (e.g. kindergartens, after hours care services);
- children’s services (e.g. occasional care providers);
- an organisation which provides Early Childhood Intervention Services;
- maternal and Child Health Centres;
- organisations registered or accredited to provide senior secondary education and training;
- registered overseas student exchange organisations;
- approved education and training organisations providing courses to students from overseas;
- out-of-home care services;
- child protection services;
- family violence or sexual assault services;
- housing services and homeless services;
- youth services;
- support services for parents and families;
- public and denominational hospitals, public health services, private hospitals, multipurpose services, day procedure centres and registered community health services;
- drug or alcohol treatment services;
- designated mental health services and publicly funded mental health community support services;
- government departments and agencies providing services to children (including youth justice and corrective services);
- local councils; and
- disability services providers.
Category 2 entities that must comply by 1 January 2017:
- religious bodies, including churches;
- residential facilities of boarding schools and student hostels;
- cultural, sport or recreation services for children;
- counselling or other support services for children;
- charities and not-for-profit organisations providing services to children;
- coaching or tuition services for children;
- entertainment or party services for children;
- commercial or publicly funded transport services for children;
- gym or play facilities for children;
- photography services for children;
- talent or beauty competitions in which children participate;
- overnight camps for children;
- professional babysitting services;
- organisations which employ a child for whom a permit is required under the Child Employment Act 2003;
- post-school education and training providers, including TAFE institutes and universities;
- youth organisations (such as Scouts or Girl Guides);
- schools other than registered schools (such as swimming schools, dance schools); and
- disability service providers other than those registered under the Disability Act 2006 (such as TAC funded providers).
What Child Safe Standards apply to category 1 & 2 entities?
The Child Safe Standards that apply to registered schools or schools seeking registration have been set down by the Minister for Education in Ministerial Order 870.
To create and maintain a child safe organisation, an applicable category 1 or 2 entity to which the standards apply must have:
Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements.
Standard 2: A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety.
Standard 3: A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children.
Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel.
Standard 5: Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse.
Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse.
Standard 7: Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.
In complying with the Child Safe Standards an entity must include the following principles as part of their response to each standard:
- promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children;
- promoting the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse background; and
- promoting the safety of children with a disability.