Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people
Protecting children from abuse is a whole of community responsibility. Approved/licensed early childhood services operating under the
Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 or the Children's Services Act 1996 (early childhood services) and Victorian schools play an important role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect through their access to information about family functioning and the needs of children.
Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people (docx - 4.87mb) is a joint protocol between the Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection, Department of Education and Training, early childhood services and Victorian schools. It is a resource to promote and support the safety and wellbeing of all children in early childhood services and schools.
The protocol ensures a unified and consistent approach to protect children and young people. Additionally the protocol defines the respective roles and responsibilities of the Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection, Department of Education and Training and all staff members in early childhood services and schools.
Key information provided includes:
- Reporting requirements in line with the
Children Youth and Families Act 2005including responsibilities of mandated/non mandated persons.
- The obligations and responsibilities of staff in early childhood services and departmental authorised officers regarding children at risk of abuse or neglect. This includes the mandatory reporting requirements for early childhood teachers registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching
- How to access appropriate support services for children at risk of abuse or neglect and their families.
Note: The Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people protocol is currently being updated to reflect the regulatory requirements of the
Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010. In the meantime the principles and content of the protocol document continue to apply.
Online training package
Protecting Children - Mandatory Reporting and other Obligations for the Early Childhood Sector module provides staff members of early childhood services with information about their obligations and the processes for reporting. The module provides information regarding the roles and responsibilities for protecting children and provides specific advice on how to identify, respond to and report concerns regarding the safety, health and wellbeing of children. It also provides advice regarding the new criminal offences that have been introduced to protect children.
- Login: ecec
- Password: staff
Reporting suspected sexual offences to Victoria Police
Three new criminal offences have been introduced to improve responses within organisations and the community to child sexual abuse.
Failure to disclose
Additional to DHHS Child Protection mandatory reporting obligations, any adult who forms a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed against a child under 16 by an adult must report that information to police - failure to do so is a criminal offence. In limited circumstances failure to report is not an offence, for example if the information has been reported to DHS Child Protection.
For more information see:
Department of Justice and Regulation - Failure to disclose fact sheet
Failure to protect
This requires people in a position of authority within organisations to take action to protect children as soon as they become aware that a person associated with their organisation poses a substantial risk of sexually abusing children.
Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
For more information see:
Department of Justice and Regulation – Failure to protect fact sheet
Many perpetrators of sexual offences against children purposely create relationships with victims, their families or carers in order to create a situation where abuse could occur. This offence targets communication, including online communication, with a child or their parents with the intent of committing child sexual abuse.
For more information see:
Department of Justice and Regulation – Grooming offence fact sheet
'Wise Up' to child sexual abuse is a booklet that helps you learn about child sexual abuse; how to identify signs and indicators of abuse, how to talk to children if they disclose, how to recognise the strategies of offenders and importantly how to report your concerns.
The booklet has been developed by Child Wise, a child protection charity working in Australia, Asia and the Pacific to prevent child abuse.
To access the booklet, see:
Child Wise - Online Publications
Child protection contacts - Department of Health and Human Services
The Centre Against Sexual Assault
There are 15 Centres Against Sexual Assault, who work to ensure that women, children and men who are victim/survivors of sexual offending have access to comprehensive and timely support and intervention to address their needs.
Gatehouse Centre, Royal Children's Hospital
Provides support and assistance to children and young people affected by sexual offending or problem sexual behaviours
Children's Protection Society
Provide advice and support to children and families to help them break out of the cycle of abuse, neglect, poverty and disadvantage through a creative portfolio of programs, resources and services.
Australian Childhood Foundation
Provide recognised programs that counsel and support children to recovery; help professionals who work with children to better support at risk children; raise awareness of the causes and consequences of abuse.
Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc.
Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc (VAEAI) provides an advocate role for the Victorian Koorie community