The rationale behind the development of ChildSafe is perhaps best captured by considering the diagram below.
What causes harm to children (or young people) when they are in the care of an organisation? At the immediate level, harm is caused by the abuse of children, or by a variety of events that might be broadly categorised as 'Unsafe acts' or 'Unsafe environments'. There is a further category here of 'Misfortune': all those things that will happen no matter how good the organisation's safety and care. We'll leave this category out of our analysis, as these are beyond any efforts on our part to control.
The second circle shows a range of underlying causes for harm. 'Lack of supervision' can be understood at several levels: supervision of the children, supervision of the people working with children, or supervision of those with overall leadership roles. Likewise 'Lack of forethought' or 'Lack of control/accountability' can occur at a number of levels within an organisation.
The majority of the causes of harm relate to issues other than child abuse. Child Protection is of the utmost importance, but it is not the totality of creating a safe organisation. The issues identified in the second circle might be collectively termed 'Systemic Safety Shortcomings'. They are issues for the organisation as a whole, and require addressing at a number of different levels of responsibility.
We would identify three critical processes for an organisation: the appointment process for people working with children, the training required of those people, and the control taken by the organisation over it's programs with children.
That why we use the by-line "Safe People / Safe Programs". Organisations need both.
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