The 7 Child Safety Standards

The standards are a compulsory framework that supports organisations to promote the safety of children.  The legislation that creates the standards is the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005.  The standards are designed to drive cultural change and embed a focus on child safety by placing children's rights and wellbeing at the forefront of the organisation's mind.  

Organisations must be guided by the following principles when implementing the standards:

  • the cultural safety of Aboriginal Children
  • the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • the safety of children with a disability​

The Standards Require Organisations to have:

Having a culture of child safety ensures that organisations prioritise the safety of the children in their care and build child safety into everyday thinking and practice. This requires an organisation to take a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse and to support the diversity of children’s needs.

Part of having a child safe culture means acknowledging that the process of improving the safety of children in organisations is continuous and ongoing. Organisations need to regularly monitor and improve performance against all of the standards.  

Leaders have a critical role to play in creating and maintaining an organisational culture where children’s best interests are at the heart of the organisation and the way it operates. 

By routinely discussing child safety matters in committee meetings and forums, an organisation’s leaders can influence and guide the thinking and behavior of others including volunteers, coaches, umpires children and families.

One of the most effective ways for an organisation to demonstrate its commitment to child safety is to document how it meets its duty of care and other responsibilities to children. It gives information and guidance on child safety within the organisation. Netball Victoria has created a Child Safety in Netball Policy and this policy binds everyone who is involved in Netball Victoria activities - which can be found in the additional resources section below.

It spells out professional boundaries, ethical behaviour and acceptable and unacceptable relationships. When behavioural expectations are clear, an organisation’s staff, volunteers, children and their family members are more likely to behave appropriately and to identify and report inappropriate behaviour.  

Netball Victoria has created a Child Safety in Netball Code of Conduct which outlines the expected behaviour for interactions with Netball in Victoria and aligns with the Child Safety in Netball Policy.  To view the Code of Conduct - download it from the Additional Resources section below.

A child safe organisation has policies and procedures for recruitment and selection processes, supervision, training and managing the performance of staff and volunteers. Good recruitment practices can reduce the opportunity for harm to occur by deterring the ‘wrong’ people from applying and allowing an organisation to screen out people who are unsuitable to work with children.

A child safe organisation encourages and welcomes the reporting of concerns, responds to complaints promptly, thoroughly and fairly, and immediately protects children at risk. Organisations have a responsibility to encourage staff, volunteers and children to speak up when they are uncomfortable or concerned. 

When an organisation has a well-publicised reporting process that staff and volunteers are trained to use, it increases the likelihood that people will raise relevant and important issues about child safety.  

Taking a preventative approach means identifying the potential risks in the organisation. These range from the impact of the physical and online environments, how they affect continual supervision of staff and children, the nature of the activities the organisation is engaged in, through to staff recruitment practices in an organisation.  

Despite the implementation of best-practice approaches, risks always exist for children who access organisations. An organisation is in the best position to know where the vulnerabilities and risks are located within it and its activities and how it can plan to prevent them. By adopting a risk management approach, an organisation is acting in a preventative manner and can reduce the likelihood of risks becoming realised.

Child safe organisations place a high priority on the promotion of participation and empowerment of young people because participation serves to protect children. Establishing an environment of trust and inclusion enables children in an organisation to speak up if they are worried. When children are routinely provided with opportunities to participate and feel that their views are valued, they are more likely to speak up.

Additional Resources

Remember: 

Child safety is not an add-on or one off exercise. It is a legal requirement that your organisation will need to be compliant with. Having policies and procedures in place is not enough. It’s about creating a culture and environment within sport that is supportive and protective of children.

DISCLAIMER: 

This information provides general guidance regarding the Child Safe Standards. It should not be considered as a substitute for legal advice. 

These resource are supported by the Victorian Government. 

These documents are designed for the Netball Community and developed utilising and adapting content from: 

- State Government of Victoria, Department of Health & Human Services (2015) An overview of the Victorian child safe standards 

- Commission for Children and Young People (2015), A guide for creating a child safe organisation 2.0

- VicSport's Child Safe Standards - What do they Mean.