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. Bringing the content of policies and procedures to life will require the development of additional strategies.

A review of your practices will assist with understanding the requirements of the Standards and identifying what your organisation already has in place. Vicsport encourages clubs, leagues and associations 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 helps to spread the work load and ensure knowledge about the Standards extends beyond one person. This group can also act as your “Champions”, ensuring that the messages of child safety are spread throughout your organisation and underpinning the change in culture required to create a child safe environment.

What should we consider?

You will need to keep in mind who the working group reports to. Is it the committee, the president or a paid staff member (if you have one). It is important to ensure that child safety becomes part of your organisations culture and core activities. This starts with leaders and key decision makers. Also keep in mind how progress on the Standards will be reported to the committee and shared across volunteers and members.

Child Safe Sport Working Group Terms of Reference Template

STEP 2: Undertake a child safe review

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

  • What you already have in place
  • 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 safety review, consider the following items:

  • What does a child safe environment look like to 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 all abilities in our sport?
  • How can leaders, volunteers, members, parents and children assist with the process?
  • What is happening at a state (or even national) level that you need to be aware of?
  • How can the issues identified link with any current initiatives or programs you run?

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 of risk management and continuous improvement.

What should we consider?

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

  • The range of activities your organisation 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, overnight camps or travel)

link: Vicsport Good Governance Toolkit – Risk Management & 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 others 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?

There is a range of organisations ready to assist you in taking action to develop a child safe culture within your club, league or association. Depending on your sport and location, the following types of organisations can assist:

STEP 5: Develop and implement an action plan

Having an action plan which clearly outlines the roles, responsibilities and timelines will assist your organisation to break down required action 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 achieving a child safe culture so everyone’s approach will be different. Ensure you engage and consult with your members, local and state sporting bodies to make sure you align your actions with other initiatives occurring across sport.

DOWNLOAD: Action Plan Template