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ChildSafe is aligned with the Ten National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, drawn from the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2018. These Ten National Principles are considered better practice for all organisations working with children. These principles are below.

 

 

Principle 1: Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.

Principle 2: Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

Principle 3: Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

Principle 4: Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

Principle 5: People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.

Principle 6: Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.

Principle 7: Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.

Principle 8: Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.

Principle 9: Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved.

Principle 10: Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.

 

The Principles focus on harm from sexual abuse, but there are other ways that children can come to harm. ChildSafe has adopted the 10 Principles and extended their definition to help organisations keep the children in their care safe from all forms of potential harm.

 

Principle 1

Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.

Culture is about how the people in the organisation think and what they do. Organisations are responsible for building a culture of safety so that the children and other vulnerable people in their care are kept safe all the time.  The ChildSafe organisation takes a system approach to safety management by concentrating on the conditions under which individuals work and is proactive in identifying potential risks and planning ways to keep the children in their care, safe from harm.

A child safe culture is built through good governance that sees child safety as a priority from the board down, with board policies and procedures implemented throughout the organisation. Strong committed leadership is essential in building and sustaining this culture.

 

Principle 2

Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

It is important that any organisation working with children or other vulnerable people creates an environment where the participants are empowered to choose whether to participate in each activity and feel that they can report incidents or practices that make them feel unsafe.

Children and vulnerable people feel comfortable in participating in safety decisions and are informed about safety approaches.

 

Principle 3

Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

An organisation seeks to involve families and community in its approach to child safety and well-being. This informs parents and carers about safeguarding children and vulnerable people and encourages their feedback and opinions about relevant policies and practices. This can provide further insight into issues and concerns.

 

Principle 4

Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

 An organisation should recognise children and vulnerable people’s diverse circumstances, empowering children and vulnerable people to participate more effectively. This builds an organisational culture which embraces ALL children.

 

Principle 5

People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.

Recruitment and staff development policies, including appropriate screening, are a foundation of child safe organisations. This includes induction training, understanding child safety responsibilities, and appropriate supervision of staff and volunteers. Training and information sharing provide staff and volunteers with the relevant practice tools to better safeguard children and young people.

 

Principle 6

Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.

 Complaints processes should be responsive to, and understood by children and vulnerable people, families, staff and volunteers. Complaint processes should be linked to the ChildSafe Code of Conduct.

 

Principle 7

Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.

The organisation values training as a way of providing staff and volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain the system of safety and care.  It must provide information, ongoing education and training for staff and volunteers that supports child safety practice and prepares them for the role they are required to fulfil.

 

Principle 8

Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.

To keep children from harm, organisations need to plan to manage risk, as an important preventative mechanism to reduce the risk of harm in physical and online environments.

Risk management strategies clarify potential risks where adult-to-child or child-to-child interactions occur, or where the physical environment is unsafe.

 

Principle 9

Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved.

Safety systems should evolve constantly as the organisation responds to changing conditions and learns from experience. A system of regular review of the organisation’s ChildSafe practice ensures that continuous improvement happens.

Principle 10

Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.

 Organisations should have a clearly documented policy for child and vulnerable person safety and wellbeing. Thereby all stakeholders, including organisational staff and volunteers, children and vulnerable people and their families and carers, are aware of how the organisation is planning to create an environment that is safe. Documenting and communicating policies and procedures ensures consistent application of child safe practices across the organisation.

 

References:

  • Royal Commission, Creating child safe institutions (the ‘ten standards’), Jul 2016
  • Australian Human Rights Commission, National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, Jun 2018
  • Royal Commission, Best practice principles in responding to complaints of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts, Mar 2016
  • Royal Commission Records and record-keeping practices, Sep 2016
  • Hear no evil, see no evil: Understanding failure to identify and report child sexual abuse in institutional contexts, Sep 2015
  • NSW Ombudsmen presentation to CCYP Victoria, Reportable Conduct seminar, Oct 2017
  • ISO 31000:2009 Risk management – Principles and guidelines