Getting Started

All sporting organisations should be taking steps to address the Standards. Many organisations will have policies and procedures in place that may address areas of the Standards which is a positive first step. Embedding the content of their policies and procedures into your organisations culture will require the development of additional strategies.

A review and update of your own practices will assist you in understanding the requirements of the Standards so that you can assist your members more effectively. Vicsport encourages SSAs and RSAs to utilise the following guide as a process through which they can begin the journey towards a strong child safe sport culture.

STEP 1: Develop a working group or sub-committee

Having a dedicated group of individuals to oversee the rollout of the Standards within your organisation helps to spread the work and ensure knowledge about the Standards extends beyond one individual. These individuals can also act as your first “Champions”, ensuring that the messages of child safety are spread throughout your organisation and underpinning the change in culture required to be a truly Child Safe Organisation.

What should we consider?

You will need to keep in mind who the working group reports to. Is it the board, the CEO or another senior staff member?It is important to ensure that Child Safety becomes part of your organisations culture and core activities and this starts with the leaders and key decision makers. Also keep in mind how the progress on the Standards and will be reported to the board and shared across staff.

DOWNLOAD: Child Safe Sport Working Group Terms of Reference Template

STEP 2: Undertake a child safety review

Undertaking a child safety review can help your organisation identify what is currently in place and what needs attention. Your organisation may have policies and procedures that new staff and volunteers aren't aware of or haven’t been reviewed for a while. A review can also assist you to identify:

  • What you are doing well
  • Where you need to strengthen your approach
  • What assistance your organisation may require

What should we consider?

When undertaking your Child Safe Review, consider the following items:

  • What does a child safe environment look like in the context of your organisation?
  • What policies and procedures do you already have in place?
  • What is the current status of your organisations risk management plan?
  • How can we include children from diverse backgrounds and abilities in our sport?
  • How can staff, volunteers and children assist with the process?
  • What is happening at a national level?
  • How can the issues identified link with any current initiatives or programs (i.e. Club Development)?

DOWNLOAD: Child Safe Standards Review Template

STEP 3: Understand your level of risk

Organisations need to adopt a risk management approach to child safety. Having an active approach to your duty of care towards children contributes to the development of a child safe culture incorporating risk management and continuous improvement.

What should we consider?

When assessing your organisations level of risk, keep in mind:

  • The range of activities your sport offers that involve children
  • Both the physical and online environment
  • Any activities or situations that may be of higher risk (i.e. one-on-one coaching or overnight camps)

LINK: Vicsport Good Governance Toolkit – Risk Management and Compliance

STEP 4: Identify any further information, advice or support needed

Once your organisation has completed a review and identified your level of risk, there will undoubtedly be questions you need to ask. Connecting with individuals and organisations that can assist your organisation through the implementation and change process could also help you identify items and strategies you may not have thought of.

What should we consider?

When identifying who may be able to assist you, think about the work your organisation undertakes and services it offers. Additionally, keep in mind what type of support best suits your organisation. Is it face to face, in-depth support or just knowing who to call if you have a question? This information aids you in locating organisations and individuals across:

  • Local, State and National levels
  • Industries external to sport
  • Content experts in:
      • Child Safe Environments
      • Engaging people with a disability
      • Engaging people from indigenous communities
      • Engaging people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

LINK: Vicsport

LINK: Commission for Children and Young People

STEP 5: Develop and implement an action plan

Developing an action plan which clearly outlines the tasks, roles, responsibilities and timelines will assist your organisation to break down required actions into manageable items of work. It also helps to keep everyone across the organisation focused on and accountable to what they are aiming to achieve.

What should we consider?

Keep your plan simple and achievable, but most importantly ensure the content aligns with the Standards. When developing your plan, remember there is no “one best way” to achieve a child safe culture so everyone’s approach will be different. Ensure you engage and consult with local, state and national sporting bodies to make sure you align your actions with other initiatives occurring across sport.

DOWNLOAD: Action Plan Template