The Betrayal of Trust Report made a range of recommendations, including the need to better protect children and young people from child abuse when they access services and facilities provided by organisations.
The Victorian Government subsequently introduced two key reforms: the Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme.
Child Safe Standards
Organisations that provide services and facilities for children and young people are required to implement the Victorian Child Safe Standards. The Child Safe Standards are underpinned by the understanding that all children and young people are vulnerable and that child safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
The Standards aim to:
- Reduce the risk of child abuse or harm occurring in organisations
- Increase the likelihood of an organisation knowing that child abuse or harm has occurred
- Ensure organisations have effective practices in place to respond to and report all allegations of child abuse and harm.
The Victorian Child Safe Standards are:
- Standard 1: 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.
- Standard 2: Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
- Standard 3: Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
- Standard 4: Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
- Standard 5: Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
- Standard 6: People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
- Standard 7: Processes for complaints and concerns are child-focused.
- 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.
- Standard 9: Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
- Standard 10: Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.
- Standard 11: Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.
Reportable Conduct Scheme
The Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme focuses on the reporting and investigation of child abuse allegations made against workers and volunteers in certain organisations.
The Commission for Children and Young People must be informed of any allegations of child abuse involving a worker or volunteer, and independently oversees all investigations undertaken by organisations.
For further information on the Victorian Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme please refer to the Commission for Children and Young People.