Vicsport committed to Child Safe Sport

Published 1 April, 2022.

Vicsport continues to assist the sport and recreation industry prepare for the incoming changes to the Child Safe Standards, commencing 1 July, through webinars, Community of Practices, bespoke training sessions and updated online resources.

Through a series of four webinars that began in October 2021, Vicsport has focused on the incoming changes and outlined the requirements sport organisations will need to meet when the new Standards take effect.

The most recent session last month featured Greg Gebhart from the eSafety Commissioner and looked at Online Safety for Child Safe Sport, analysing the key considerations for sport organisations when managing the privacy of information and safety of online environments.

Participants examined the current trends in social media use, the importance of having a social media policy and how they relate to existing codes of behaviour, the best ways to safeguard all members of an organisation as well as understanding and adhering to the Australian Privacy Principles.

“This was the third of four webinars focusing on the new areas of the Standards after our first two sessions covered governance and leadership and engaging children, families and communities,” said Vicsport Sports Consultant, Fiona Jones.

“The incoming changes provide a great opportunity for sports to review and assess where they are at in terms of Child Safety. Since the initial Standards came into effect in 2017, there has been a lot of great work from our industry but there hasn’t been as much reviewing, updating and communication to members. These Standards, and child safety in general, are not a tick-the-box exercise, it is a cultural change that needs to be embedded across your organisation and constantly reassessed.”

To assist sports with the incoming changes, Vicsport’s Child Safe Sport webpage has been updated to provide additional understanding, assistance and resources that can aid all sport and recreation organisations in compliance.

An overview of the eleven new Standards is featured in the About the Standards factsheet, while key changes including new requirements to involve families and communities in keeping children and young people safe, a greater focus on safety for Aboriginal children and young people, managing the risk of child abuse in online environments and greater clarity on the governance, systems and processes to keep children and young people safe are also detailed in What Do They Mean for Your Organisation?

In addition, the webpage contains updated resources to assist organisations in creating a Child Safe plan. A Getting Started Review Checklist guides you through the start of the process and helps to make things less overwhelming before a Short Review Template identifies the initial key items required to start child safe sport and a Comprehensive Child Safe Review Template looks at what needs to be developed in order to to meet the Standards.

“We have broken these guides into three templates to help sports phase into getting child safe,” said Fiona. “The first checklist is a 12-step entry into child safety and then, once organisations are comfortable, they can progress through the next two templates. It makes what can be an overwhelming topic easier to approach and tackle.

“Vicsport is also finalising child safe leaders training which will be aimed at board members, CEOs and executive managers. This came about after we identified the need for education at that level as there is not enough buy-in from there to embed child safety across their organisations.

“With thanks to Sport and Recreation Victoria, Vicsport has also secured additional funding to develop an online learning education package which will be targeted at clubs. The packages, which should be available around September 2022, will include a series of child safety videos, supportive resources and a suite of training modules to help clubs understand how they can address the Standards and child safety in general.”

Upcoming events from Vicsport will continue to help prepare the sport and recreation industry as we move closer to 1 July. An in-person Community of Practice (CoP) event on 19 May will focus on how sports can assist members while a webinar will be dedicated to Cultural Safety for Aboriginal Children & Young People (date TBA).

“The next CoP will be face-to-face for the first time in over two years which is very exciting,” said Fiona. “Utilising activities and group discussion, these meetings are available to 1-2 key contacts and child safe leads from all Victorian SSAs, RSAs and state sport & recreation bodies.

“For our fourth webinar in the series, we are working with the team at Sport and Recreation Victoria and their Indigenous unit to address the Cultural Safety of Aboriginal Children & Youth - the first Standard once the changes come into effect on 1 July. It is an important area, not just in terms of child safety but in terms of broader diversity and inclusion initiatives. We will look at what cultural safety means for Aboriginal children and how sports can work towards a culturally safety environment.

“In the meantime, it is important for sports to just start doing a couple of things that they know they can get rolling with. Once you get a bit of traction, keep moving. It doesn’t matter where you start, it just matters that you do and you begin to make changes.”

Keep an eye on the Vicsport calendar for all upcoming events and subscribe to our e-newsletter, Sportsview, for all the latest industry updates.

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