Child Safe Standards: Creating a safe environment

​To create and maintain a child safe organisation, all Victorian schools must comply with Ministerial Order No. 870 - Child Safe Standards, which came into effect 1 August 2016.

The following resources have been created to provide guidance to schools to meet their obligations under the Child Safe Standards. 

Standard 1 - Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety

Child Safe Standard 1 requires schools to plan, implement and review strategies that will embed a culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements.

It is crucial that child safety is part of the everyday thinking and practice of all within the school or the community.

Role of a School Child Safety Officer/Leader 

Key Activities of a School Child Safety Officer/ Leader role

A school lead for child safety should have sufficient status and authority, including leadership support and the ability to direct other staff (where appropriate), to undertake the role effectively.

Broad areas of the role are to:

Provide authoritative advice

  • act as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of child safety
  • liaise with the principal and school leaders to maintain the visibility of child safety
  • lead the development of the school’s child safety culture, including being a child safety champion and providing coordination in communicating, implementing, monitoring, enhancing and reporting on strategies to embed a culture of child safety

Raise awareness

  • ensure the school’s policies are known and used appropriately
  • ensure the school’s child safety policy is reviewed in the context of school self-evaluation undertaken as part of the school accountability framework
  • ensure the child protection policy is available publicly and parents are aware of the fact that referrals bout suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school in the school in this
  • be alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers
  • encourage among all staff a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings in any measures to protect them.

Train

Being authoritative in providing advice by:

  • keeping their skills up to date with appropriate training carried out every two years
  • having a working knowledge of how the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Community Service Organisations conduct a child protection case conference to be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so
  • be able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referral
  • ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s child safety policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff
  • make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest DHHS and DET policies and guidance.

Action Plan template

To download the template, see: Action Plan template (docx - 70.54kb)

Standard 2: A child safety policy or a statement of commitment to child safety

Child Safe Standard 2 requires schools to develop and publicly communicate a Statement of Commitment to child safety or a school child safe policy.

A Statement of Commitment to child safety helps raise awareness about the importance of child safety in the school and the community and affirms the organisation's commitment to child safety and expectations. 

A child safe policy is an overarching document that provides key elements of an organisation’s approach for child safe environments. For more information see:

Example statement

Example of a statement of commitment to child safety (pdf - 84.8kb) 

Standard 3: Developing a Child Safety Code of Conduct

Child Safe Standard 3 requires schools to develop a Child Safety Code of Conduct.

A Code of Conduct lists behaviours that are acceptable and those that are unacceptable. It identifies professional boundaries, ethical behaviour and how to avoid or better manage difficult situations.

Exemplar Code of Conduct

Definitions

Aligning the Code of Conduct to other professional codes

Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resource practices that reduce the risk of child abuse

Child Safe Standard 4 requires schools to use policies and procedures for recruitment, supervision, training and managing performance that support a child safe school environment.

Strong human resources practices promote child safe school environments and reduce the risk of child abuse.

Standard 5: Procedures for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse

The following information provides guidance to schools to meet their roles and responsibilities under Child Safety Standard 5: Procedures for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse.

This content has been adapted from the Identifying and Responding to All Forms of Abuse In Victorian Schools guidance. To download a full copy of the Guidance see:

Fact sheets for school staff

Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse

Child Safe Standard 6 requires schools to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate risk management strategies to ensure child safety in school environments.

A child safety risk management strategy is a formal and structured approach to managing risks associated with child safety. 

Risk Assessment template

Standard 7: Strategies to promote child participation and empowerment

Child Safe Standard 7 requires schools to develop strategies to deliver appropriate education about:

  • standards of behaviour for students attending the school
  • healthy and respectful relationships (including sexuality)
  • resilience
  • child abuse awareness and prevention.

In preparing for compliance schools are expected to identify the proposed school actions and associated timeframe (per Standard 1) to:

  • deliver appropriate education about: standards of behaviours for students attending school:
    • healthy and respectful relationships (including sexuality)
    • resilience
    • child abuse awareness and prevention
  • promote the Child Safe Standards in ways that are accessible, easy to understand, and user friendly for children.

Printable guide

For Catholic schools, additional information on implementation of Child Safe Standard 7 can be found here: Catholic Education Commission of Victoria: Child Safety.

Resources to support standards of behaviour for school students

Resources to support healthy and respectful relationships

Resources to support resilience

Other useful information for schools

For information on the Child Safe Standards and how they apply to workplace learning/work experience, see Workplace Learning

We have updated our contract templates to include the Child Safe Standards.

External links

 

Information for students

To download a poster on school community obligation and steps for students if they feel unsafe, see: Protect poster

For information for students, see: Child Abuse and Sexual Exploitation

Information for parents

Parents have an important role to play in identifying signs of abuse in their children. For information to provide to parents, see Child Protection.