From 1 July 2022, 11 new Victorian Child Safe Standards will replace Victoria’s seven former Child Safe Standards and principles in place since 2016.
The new Victorian Child Safe Standards support greater national consistency, reflecting the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, developed following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The new Child Safe Standards include new requirements, including:
- the involvement of families and students in child safety efforts
- focus on the safety of Aboriginal children and young people
- management of the risk of child abuse in online environments
- governance, systems and processes to keep students safe.
The new Child Safe Standards are underpinned by Ministerial Order No. 1359 which was gazetted by the Victorian Government on 10 February 2022. Ministerial Order No. 1359 defines the actions schools and school boarding premises must take to meet the requirements associated with the new Child Safe Standards.
Under Ministerial Order No. 1359, every Victorian school must ensure that its schools contextualise, develop and implement policies, procedures and practices to create a child safe culture and environment.
Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards can be summarised as follows:
- 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.
- Leadership, governance and culture – Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
- Child and student empowerment – Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
- Family engagement – Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
- Diversity and equity – Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
- Suitable staff and volunteers – People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
- Complaints processes – Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.
- 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.
- 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.
- Review of child safety practices – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.
- Implementation of child safety practices – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.
All staff have and will continue to be trained in the implementation of the new standards. The Child Safeguarding team also consistently work to a ensure a proactive and high level of compliance in regard to child safety including policy development, protocols and procedures, risk review and risk management, embedding a culture of child safety, in addition to effective contextualisation and implementation of the new 11 standards.
We look forward to engaging with Clonard families to continue to inform, promote and upskill all members of our community.