Vicsport’s Child Safe Leaders Training

Published August 24, 2022.

A child safe training session aimed at leaders within the sport and recreation industry was run by Vicsport last month, helping to set culture from the top down after new Victorian Child Safe Standards commenced on 1 July.

Held outside business hours for an hour and a half, the session targeted CEOs, board members and executive staff. It focused on how child safety looks in terms of governance and organisational strategy as well as the key risks and potential legal issues that those attendees should be aware of.

“Getting the buy-in from leaders and executive staff is very important,” said Vicsport Sports Consultant, Fiona Jones. “If they recognise the importance of the issue, the rest of their organisation can take action and know they are supported in doing so. You may have members of your team who oversee child safety specifically but everyone within an organisation is responsible.”

The session marked Fiona’s final event after 12 years as a part of Vicsport and in that time she has seen significant changes within the child safe space. The introduction of new Victorian Child Safe Standards and the addition of four Standards from 1 July has again put child safe policies at the forefront.

“A deadline is always great to enact change, especially when it is linked to legislation and funding access,” said Fiona. “In the past few months, I think people have become more aware of the Standards and are not as fearful but there is still concern about the workload required to meet them.

“Seeing organisations take the time to update policies, refresh training and re-engage with clubs has been really positive. Vicsport has also assisted sports in complete staff education and the education of club personnel. The Commission for Children and Young People’s (CCYP) guidance for organisations has also been very helpful, providing clear documentation and actions required for minimum compliance.”

To assist sports with the recent 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.

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 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 meet the Standards.

Currently in the works, Vicsport are collaborating with etrainu in the release of online training and education pieces aimed specifically at Victorian clubs.

“These training pieces have come about thanks to funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria,” said Fiona. “Current online education pieces like those from Play by the Rules have been a great resource but we noticed there is a gap in terms of education around the Victorian legislation.

“Once complete, we will have 11 online modules, one for each Standard, that will offer understandings of the Standards and who they impact. The theory is that a committee can run through a module, talk about it at their next meeting and decide what strategies can be implemented. You can then move onto the next module in the following month and so on, providing you with a year-long action plan.”

With Fiona’s time at Vicsport coming to an end, she is keen to see continued commitment to child safety within the sport and recreation community.

“Child safety is certainly permeating our lives moreso in recent years but it still concerns me when I’m out in club land and I see no work being done in this area. It’s important to start doing a couple of things to get rolling and then once you gain 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.”

Check Vicsport’s Child Safe Sport webpage for assistance and resources that can aid all sport and recreation organisations in compliance and keep an eye on the Vicsport calendar for all upcoming events.

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