Child Safeguarding Program

Kildare Education Ministries has zero tolerance for child abuse and is committed to the protection of all young people from all forms of abuse.

The Child Safeguarding Program at Clonard is made up of work systems, practices, policies and procedures designed to maintain a child safe environment and to embed an organisational culture of child safety within the College community. The Program deals specifically with child protection issues and is designed to ensure compliance with the Victorian Child Safe Standards and related child protection laws. Broader child safety issues arising from our common law duty of care are dealt with through our Student Duty of Care Program.

On July 1 2021 the Government announced 11 new Child Safe Standards in Victoria to bring about greater national consistency in relation to child safety. Ministerial Order No. 1359 – Implementing the Child Safe Standards – managing the risk of child abuse in schools and school boarding premises (MO 1359) was released in February 2022.
The Child Safe Standards outlined in MO 1359 come into effect on July 1 2022 in all Victorian schools.

The new Child Safe Standards as set out in MO 1359 are as follows:

  1. Culturally safe environments – Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.
  2. Leadership, governance and culture – Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
  3. Child and student empowerment – Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
  4. Family engagement – Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
  5. Diversity and equity – Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
  6. Suitable staff and volunteers – People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
  7. Complaints processes – Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.
  8. Child safety knowledge, skills and awareness – Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
  9. Child safety in physical and online environments – Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
  10. Review of child safety practices – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.
  11. Implementation of child safety practices – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.

The 11 Child Safe Standards which come into effect with MO 1359 include many aspects which are currently in place under MO 870. The main differences, as explained by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) in an online news item, are related to new requirements which include:

  • ‘to involve families and communities in organisations’ efforts to keep children and young people safe [Standard 4]
  • for a greater focus on safety for Aboriginal children and young people [Standard 1]
  • to manage the risk of child abuse in online environments [Standard 9]
  • for greater clarity on the governance, systems and processes to keep children and young people safe’ (CCYP 2021).

It is also worth noting Standard 1, which is unique to Victoria, centres around cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and Standard 5 is a new standard based on ensuring inclusive education and safety for all students. There is also a change in language, as it states clearly what we are expected to do in our zero tolerance to any abuse aimed toward children and young people.

At Clonard we are proactively committed to ensuring our enactment of the Child Safe Standards as part of our responsibility to ensure the dignity and flourishing each all. Along with our Child Protection Officers have a Child Safety Team that meets each term. Their current work is considering the new standards and auditing the practices we already have in place, identifying gaps or improvements and designing an action strategy to address any new requirements. We are confident that we have many processes and practices already in place that will stand us in good stead in relation to the new standards. From July 1 we will be following new policies approved by the Kildare Ministries Board in relation to the standards. These will be made available on our website after July 1. We ask for your patience as we transition to these new documents. We will update families in the newsletter as these become live.

For any further questions or concerns in relation to Child Safety please contact our Child Protection Officers – Tania Anticev and Therese Bourke.

Child Safety Commitment Documents