Victorian organisation’s that provide services to children will see compulsory minimum standards introduced in 2016 aimed to help ensure the safety of children.

These standards forming part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry.

UPDATE 3 February 2016: Moores and Our Community collaborate on an extensive free Child Protection Guide. Download here.

UPDATE 21 January 2016: With the release of Ministerial Order No 870 the Victorian Child Safe Standards are now law requiring compliance by 1 August 2016

Along with the below, the Vic Department of Human Services provides detailed information around the proposed standards and support services.

The standards will be implemented in two phases:

  • Phase 1: From 1 January 2016 and applying to all organisations that provide services for children that are funded and/or regulated by the Victorian government.
  • Phase 2: From 1 January 2017 and applying to all other organisations that provide services for children.

Unsure if your organisation qualifies for Phase 1 or 2? Our friends at Moores have put together a useful comparison table here.

To create and maintain a child safe organisation, an applicable 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.

As many organisations already have clear existing policies and procedures the Department confirms “The child safe standards are intended to build on these measures to improve child safety in organisations and increase consistency across sectors.”

Now, more than ever, organisations need to ensure efficient processes and tools exist to encourage a ‘speak up’ culture. A healthy mix of internal and external pathways should be established to ensure all employees are confident to report illegal behaviour.