Child Safe Standards
From 1 January 2017, new Child Safety Standards (the Standards) now apply to sporting organisations that operate and provide sporting services directly to children within Victoria (including National Sporting Organisations).
The Standards relate to child protection within your Association or Club, and include requirements to have practices, procedures and policies in place to prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse.
Vicsport is committed to providing support and up-to-date resources for organisations to review their compliance with the Standards, as well as checking if the culture and environment within their organisation is supportive and protective of children. When starting your journey, the following general resources will assist you in understanding what the Standards are why we have them in place.
- The 7 Child Safe Standards
- Principles of Application
- About the Standards (An Overview)
- What do the Standards Mean for Your Organisation?
Below is a list of information sheets and templates to assist State Sporting Associations/Regional Sports Assemblies and clubs to prepare, plan and meet and the Standards.
Vicsport hosted an Industry Forum in 2016 providing an overview of the standards and support being offered to sports. This video can be used as a resource for your organisation when informing people about the Standards.
The Commission for Children and Young People
Under the Act the objectives of the Commission are broadly to:
- the safety of children
- the prevention of child abuse
- proper responses to allegations of child abuse
- ensure relevant entities are continuously improving their processes to achieve these goals.
The functions of the Commission are broadly to:
- educate and provide advice to relevant authorities to promote compliance by relevant entities with the standards
- oversee and enforce compliance.
In exercising its functions, the Commission will consider the most effective means of promoting compliance, and also liaise with each relevant authority to promote compliance.
Relevant authorities and their functions
Under the Act a relevant authority is defined as a department responsible for regulating the relevant entity, or that provides funding. It also includes the Victorian Registration Qualifications Authority, and any other authority that regulates or funds the relevant entity.
The Commission will liaise with each relevant authority before taking any action that assists with assessing compliance. It is anticipated that through the cooperative efforts of both the Commission and relevant authorities, most organisations will work towards full compliance with the standards.
Relevant entities can expect that both the Commission and relevant authorities and funders will play a role in overseeing and monitoring compliance.
Who has to comply?
Under the Act a relevant entity is defined as an entity or individual required to comply with the minimum Child Safe Standards.
Relevant entities include schools, hospitals, and other organisations or individuals that:
- provide any services specifically for children
- provide any facilities specifically for use by children who are under the entity’s supervision, or
- engage a child as a contractor, employee or volunteer to assist the entity in providing services or facilities.
From 1 January 2017, all relevant entities will need to comply with the standards. To see a full list of the categories of relevant entities visit the In-scope organisations page.
Why do they have to comply?
The Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry in its Betrayal of Trust report recommended, among other things, that the Victorian Government introduce Child Safe Standards in Victoria to ensure child safe environments in organisations that work with children.
What happens if an organisation does not comply by 1 January 2017?
In the first instance the Commission’s compliance and enforcement approach focuses on supporting organisations to meet the standards.
There are a number of actions that the Commission can take if it is notified of a concern or complaint, or through its own inquiries and activities, it becomes aware that a relevant entity may not be compliant with the standards.
For further information about what enforcement powers may be exercised by the Commission can be found on the Enforcement page.
Amendments to the Working with Children Check (WWCC) come into effect on 1 August 2017. Individuals that previously did not require a WWCC may now need one to undertake their role. This has implications to standard four of the Victorian Child Safe Standards.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse made several recommendations aimed at strengthening the protection children receive through Working with Children Checks. The following amendments to the Act implement these recommendations:
- Expand the definition of ‘direct contact’ in the Act. The definition of direct contact now includes oral, written or electronic communication as well as face-to-face and physical contact.
- Remove references to ‘supervision’ from the Act. This means that even if a person’s contact with children as part of their child-related work is supervised by another person, they will still need to apply for a Working with Children Check (Check).
- Create a new occupational category of ‘child-related work’, known as ‘kinship care’. Family members or other persons of significance caring for a child placed by Child Protection under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 are required to obtain a Check.
- Ensure that non-conviction charges (charges that have been finally dealt with other than by a conviction or finding of guilt) for serious sexual, violent or drug offences are considered as part of Check assessments and re-assessments.
- Enable the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to compel the production of certain information for the purposes of compliance monitoring.
In addition, various other miscellaneous and technical amendments have been made to improve the Act’s operation and administration.
Detailed information on the changes is provided here.
What does this mean for sporting organisations?
Sporting organisations at all levels should be aware of the incoming amendments. Changes in relation to Direct Contact and Supervision may now require some volunteers and staff to gain a WWCC that previously did not need one.
Item 1 – Direct Contact
Matt is the communications officer at a local junior football club. He maintains the Facebook pages of the club, which involves direct contact with juniors aged 8-18 via social media. Due to the change in definition of direct contact, Matt is now required to hold a Check.
Item 2 – Supervision
Sarah is a trainee coach and supervised in her role coaching a junior basketball team by the club’s senior coach. Previously she did not require a WWCC. Because of the changes, even though she is directly supervised by the senior coach, Sarah is now required to hold a Check.
Vicsport encourages all Sport related organisations to:
- Review their current WWCC, Child Safe Sport and related Policies to ensure they are in line with the new legislation;
- Inform all member organistions and individuals as soon as possible – especially those that have not previously obtained a WWCC;
- Encourage applications for new WWCC as soon as possible to avoid delays closer to the 1 August 2017 deadline.
Information and enquiries specifically relating to the changes in WWCC legislation can be found by contacting the WWCC office via:
P: 1300 652 879
Additional Support and Resources
For further information on the Child Safe Standards contact:
03 9698 8100
|The Commission for Children and Young People|
03 8601 5281
This resource is supported by the Victorian Government.
DISCLAIMER: This information
provides general guidance regarding the Child Safe Standards. It should not be
considered as a substitute for legal advice