Child Safe Sport

Every child has the right to participate safely in sport

Child safety in sport means protecting children from abuse, providing safe, quality experiences and empowering children’s voices. The Victorian Government’s Betrayal of Trust report and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted just how significant an issue child safety is within sport and that action is required now.

In Victoria, children aged 5 to 14 have the highest participation rates in organised sport. Child safety should be a core business strategy for sport organisations wanting to attract and retain under 18 members. Vicsport is committed to helping create safe, supportive, and protective sporting environments for children and young people across Victoria.

The Victorian Child Safe Standards are changing

New Child Safe Standards are coming to better protect children and young people from abuse. The Victorian Government has announced that the new Standards will commence on 1 July 2022, giving organisations time to plan, prepare and comply. The eleven new Standards will replace Victoria’s current seven standards and principles.

Key changes include new requirements:

  • To involve families and communities in organisations’ efforts to keep children and young people safe
  • For a greater focus on safety for Aboriginal children and young people
  • To manage the risk of child abuse in online environments
  • For greater clarity on the governance, systems and processes to keep children and young people safe.

Changes have been made to support greater national consistency, reflecting the National Principles for a Child Safe Organisation developed following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

An overview of the new Standards is provided below:

  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
  2. Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture
  3. Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
  4. Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing
  5. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice
  6. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice
  7. Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused
  8. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training
  9. Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed
  10. Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved
  11. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.

The following resources from the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) provide further information and details about the incoming changes:


Vicsport has also compiled a Change Management Guidance resource to assist organisations implementing a change process, utilising a combination of elements from various theoretical change models.


Why do we have The Standards?

In 2012-2013, a Victorian Government inquiry investigated the handling of child abuse by religious and non-government organisations. The inquiry’s final report, Betrayal of Trust, made several recommendations that have been acted on by the Victorian Government. The creation of Child Safe Standards (the Standards) was one of the key recommendations.

Child abuse is a current issue in Victoria, affecting 1 in 5 children across a range of locations and settings, including sport and recreation. Across the state, in 2019-20 there were 122,179 reports made to child protection authorities, and in 15% of these cases the allegations of abuse were substantiated.

What are the Standards?

There are currently seven Standards which apply to all organisations who provide a service to children. These will be in place until 1 July 2022. This includes sporting organisations, leagues, clubs and associations. The Standards detail how your organisation will protect children from abuse through policies and procedures, and develop a culture of child safety, including the safety of children with a disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from CALD backgrounds.

Click the button below to review each of the seven Child Safe Standards:

The Child Safe Standards

Who do they apply to?

The Standards apply to all personnel in your organisation, regardless of the number of children involved in your organisation. This includes:

  • Board of Management / Committee Members.
  • All paid staff (CEO, Executive, Employees).
  • All Volunteers (Coaches, officials, administrators, scorers etc).
  • All students on placement.
  • Any contractors you engage.

It also includes (but is not limited to):

  • Clubs, associations and leagues.
  • Regional sport assemblies.
  • State sporting organisations.
  • National sporting organisations based in Victoria.
  • Other sporting organisations delivering services to children.

What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is defined as:

  • Sexual abuse (including grooming, with the intent to sexually harm a child).
  • Physical abuse or violence.
  • Serious psychological or emotional abuse.
  • Serious neglect.

Who implements the Standards?
The Standards are implemented by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP). They are an independent statutory body that promotes improvement in policies and practices affecting the safety and wellbeing of Victorian children and young people, with a particular focus on vulnerable children and young people.

Are the Standards Victorian Legislation?
Yes, the Standards are mandated in the Child, Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. Since 1 January 2017, the Standards have applied to sporting organisations that operate and provide sporting services to children (defined as persons under 18) within Victoria.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Clubs, associations and leagues.
  • Regional sport assemblies.
  • State sporting organisations.
  • National sporting organisations based in Victoria.
  • Other sporting organisations delivering services to children.

Are some children more at risk than others?
The Standards apply to the safety of all children who are involved in your sport. Research shows that children from some population groups are at a higher risk of abuse than others.

As such, each of the Standards must also be understood and applied in the context of:

  • The cultural safety of Aboriginal children.
  • The cultural safety of children from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse.
  • The safety of children with a disability.

Who do I call to make a report?
If you have a child safety matter to report:

Vicsport’s child safe resources are designed for use by clubs, associations, leagues, state sport associations, regional sports assemblies, local governments and other sport or recreation organisations.

Click here to download all Vicsport child safe sport resources (zip folder).

Starting Out

Promoting Child Safe Culture

Creating a Plan

Developing Policy & Procedures

Additional Child Safe Sport resources can be found at:

One-on-One Support
Vicsport operates a child safe ‘help desk’ during normal business hours. Our expert staff can provide guidance and advice on all matters regarding child safety in sport and recreation. We offer:

  • Advice by phone, online or email.
  • Face to face meetings.
  • Document reviews.
  • Presentations to club development forums.

The help desk is open to Vicsport members, including the affiliate clubs, leagues and associations of our state sport association and regional sports assembly member organisations.

Child Safe Sport Community of Practice
With the support of Sport & Recreation Victoria, Vicsport leads regular child safe community of practice sessions. These sessions are open to all Vicsport member organisations and meets every two months. Contact us if you would like to be added to the invite list.

Consultancy Services
Vicsport can conduct comprehensive child safe reviews for sport organisations. Our expert staff can lead you through the process of becoming a child safe organisation, assisting with stakeholder consultation, policy and process development, child safe culture development and action planning to develop and maintain child safe sport environments.

The Working with Children Check (WWCC) is a screening process for assessing or re-assessing people who work with or care for children in Victoria. WWCC Vic take a detailed look at the criminal history and relevant professional conduct findings of applicants to ensure children are protected from sexual or physical harm.

Information for Individuals
If you are doing or intending to do child-related work and do not qualify for an exemption, you need a Check. To help you decide if you are doing child-related work, check here.

More information for individuals can be found here.

Information for Organisations
The Check is just one of an organisation’s responsibilities in creating and maintaining a child-safe environment. It does not assess a person’s suitability to work with or care for children in a particular role. It is the responsibility of organisations to assess if a person is suitable to work with children and to continue monitoring their workers' behaviour around children. Organisations should be vigilant at all times by doing thorough reference checks and establishing sound, ongoing supervision practices so that children are safe from harm.

Organisations need to:

  • Determine which paid and volunteer workers require a Check
  • Ensure workers have a valid Check
  • Ensure new starters apply for a Check before commencing child-related work.

More information for Organisations can be found here.

WWCC & the Child Safe Standards
Ensuring your staff and volunteers have a valid and relevant WWCC does not mean your organisation meets the Standards, it is one component that your organisation can utilise to develop a child safe environment.

Organisations must comply with the Child Safe Standards that have been introduced as part of the Victorian Government's response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry. These are compulsory minimum standards under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 that apply to organisations that provide services for children.

Further information about Working with Children Checks can be accessed via:
Phone: 1300 652 879
Enquiries: https://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/enquiries-0
Website: https://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/contact-us

This information was sourced from the Working with Children Check website.


The Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme seeks to improve organisations’ responses to allegations of child abuse and neglect by their workers and volunteers. The scheme was established by the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (the Act).

The Commission for Children and Young People is responsible for administering the scheme. Their role includes:

  • Supporting and guiding organisations that receive allegations in order to promote fair, effective, timely and appropriate responses
  • Independently overseeing, monitoring and, where appropriate, making recommendations to improve the responses of those organisations

The Reportable Conduct Scheme has been designed to ensure that the Commission will be aware of every allegation of certain types of misconduct involving children in relevant organisations that exercise care, supervision and authority over children. The Commission will also be able to share information where appropriate, including with the Working with Children Check Unit, relevant regulators and Victoria Police, to better prevent and protect children from abuse. Importantly, a finding that a person has engaged in reportable conduct can trigger an assessment of whether that person is suitable to continue to work or volunteer with children. In turn, this may lead the Working with Children Check Unit to revoke a person’s Working with Children Check card.

The Reportable Conduct Scheme is focused on worker and volunteer conduct and how organisations investigate and respond to suspected child abuse. The scheme aims to improve organisational responses to suspected child abuse and to facilitate the identification of individuals who pose a risk of harm to children, but do not have a criminal record. The scheme applies to some organisations required to meet the Child Safe Standards – those with a high level of responsibility for children – and sets out specific obligations for the heads of these organisations.

The head of the organisation must ensure that there are systems in place that:

  • Prevent reportable conduct from being committed
  • Enable reportable allegations to the made to the head of the organisation
  • Enable reportable allegations that involve the head of the organisation to reported to the Commission

How Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme work together

In 2012, the Victorian Government initiated an inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations within religious and other non-government organisations. The Betrayal of Trust Report, which detailed the inquiry findings, was tabled in parliament in 2013.

The Betrayal of Trust Report made a range of recommendations, including the need to better protect children from child abuse when they access services provided by organisations. Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme are part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to implementing these recommendations.

Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme create distinct sets of responsibilities for organisations but have been designed to complement one another. Together, Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme strengthen the capacity of organisations to prevent and respond properly to allegations of child abuse.

CCYP has oversight and regulatory responsibility for both Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme.

Where organisations have an existing funding and/or regulatory relationship with the Victorian Government or statutory bodies, the Commission will work collaboratively with and through these bodies. The Commission will work closely with those sectors not currently subject to regulation.

Further Information:
Organisations covered by the Reportable Conduct Scheme should contact the Commission for clarification and guidance, and to talk through any issues of concern.
Phone: 8601 5281
Email: childsafestandards@ccyp.vic.gov.au

Additional information is also available on the Commission for Children and Young People’s website at www.ccyp.vic.gov.au

This information was sourced from the Commission for Children and Young People website - Reportable Conduct Scheme


Who Can I Contact

If you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm, call 000.

The Vicsport main line (03) 9698 8100. Our child safe contacts are:

Fiona Jones Meredith Hodson
Sports Consultant
fionaj@vicsport.com.au
Events & Membership
Coordinator
admin@vicsport.com.au

Sports Clubs, Leagues and Associations are also encouraged to contact the following organisations for assistance:

The resources developed by Vicsport and complied on this webpage are supported by the State Government of Victoria.

DISCLAIMER: While all care has been taken in the preparation of this information, none of the author(s) or Vicsport including its officers, employees and agents, make any representation or warranty as to, or take any responsibility for, the accuracy, reliability, completeness or currency of any information or recommendations contained in this information, nor its usefulness in achieving any purpose. Vicsport is not liable to users of this information for any loss or damage however caused resulting from the use of this information, and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of the information or your reliance upon it. Vicsport recommends users seek independent legal advice to ensure compliance with the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act and the Child Safe Standards. Vicsport reserves all of its rights.


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