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.
Principle of inclusion
Ministerial Order No. 870 – Child Safe Standards [accessible] requires that in implementing the Child Safe Standards, schools must:
- Take account of the diversity of all children, including (but not limited to) the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, children with disabilities, and children who are vulnerable; and
- Make reasonable efforts to accommodate the matters referred to above.
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
- 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 about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school in this
- be alert to the specific needs of children who are vulnerable (including young carers), children with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- encourage among all staff a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings in any measures to protect them.
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, preferably using the
Recording your actions: responding to suspected child abuse template (pdf - 250.74kb)
- 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 child safety policy or Statement of Commitment to child safety.
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 safety policy is an overarching document that provides key elements of an organisation’s approach for child safe environments. For more information see:
Example of a statement of commitment to child safety (pdf - 84.8kb)
Standard 3: 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
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
Schools must have written procedures for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse. Schools can use the
Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations (including Mandatory Reporting) policy template to develop those procedures.
The following information provides further 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)
- 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)
- child abuse awareness and prevention
- promote the Child Safe Standards in ways that are accessible, easy to understand, and user friendly for children.
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
We have updated our
contract templates to include the Child Safe Standards.
Information for students
To download a poster on school community obligation and steps for students if they feel unsafe, see:
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