All Victorian organisations that provide services or facilities to children are required by law to comply with the Child Safe Standards.
The Human Services Regulator in the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) plays an important role in regulating human services to minimise harm and to protect the safety and rights of children, young people and adults.
As part of this role and in line with the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005, the Human Services Regulator oversees and promotes compliance by department funded or regulated organisations with the Child Safe Standards. The Human Services Regulator uses a risk-based regulatory approach to assessing compliance.
What are the Child Safe Standards?
There are 11 Child Safe Standards. These Standards commenced on 1 July 2022 and replace the Child Safe Standards that were established in 2016. The Child Safe Standards aim to protect children and young people, by requiring organisations to put policies, procedures and processes in place to prevent and respond to abuse. They aim to make keeping children and young people safe a key focus of organisations in Victoria.
The Child Safe Standards help organisations to:
- Promote the safety of children
- Prevent child abuse
- Ensure effective processes are in place to respond to and report allegations of child abuse
- Encourage children to ‘have a say’, especially on issues that are important to them or about decisions that affect their lives.
The Child Safe Standards
Child Safe Standard 1 - Relevant entities establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.
Child Safe Standard 2 - Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
Child Safe Standard 3 - Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
Child Safe Standard 4 - Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
Child Safe Standard 5 - Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
Child Safe Standard 6 - People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
Child Safe Standard 7 - Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.
Child Safe Standard 8 - Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
Child Safe Standard 9 - Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
Child Safe Standard 10 - Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.
Child Safe Standard 11 - Policies and procedures document how the relevant entity is safe for children and young people.
To help organisations to understand the requirements of the new Child Safe Standards, we have developed resources for DFFH funded and/or regulated organisations, see Resources for Child Safe Standards.
The Commission for Children and Young People provides key guidance for organisations on the new Child Safe Standards and has range of resources available on the Commission for Children and Young People's website.