Understanding about the activities that promote safe providers

You need to be confident that your child is being cared for by a suitably trained, experienced and competent provider who knows how to and also values the importance of a safe environment for your child whether they are based in an organisation or a private provider.


There are a number of strategies and structures that promote providers providing a safe and enriching environment.

In addition to the providing training, supervision and monitoring to ensure quality care is being provided, an understanding of the different activities that can constitute unsafe experiences is required, for example what is bullying, when to assess that adequate care is not being provided, awareness about inappropriate physical responses, being alert to when activities can become abusive.  Providers need to be trained and supported to being alert to particular risks to children.

You will probably hear the term risk assessment used. Risk assessment in relation to child abuse refers to a process of assessing and evaluating risks and threats to the safety of a child. Through the collection and analysis of information, a service provider will be able to determine the degree to which key risk factors are present that may impact on the likelihood of harm to a child. This can indicate that the situation needs to be referred to a specialist trained in assessing the presence of risk and knowing what action is required. More information on this area can be gained from https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/assessment/family-assess/safety/

We all need to be alert to the risk of providers who are perpetrators who may groom children as part of the process of sexual abuse.  Grooming is defined as ‘a process by which a person prepares a child, significant adults, and the environment for the abuse of the child. Specific goals include gaining access to the child, gaining the child’s compliance and maintaining the child’s secrecy to avoid disclosure. This process serves to strengthen the offender’s abusive pattern, as it may be used as a means of justifying or denying their actions’ (Craven et. al, 2006, quoted in Child Wise, Child Grooming, 2013). Grooming is now a criminal offence to be reported to Victoria Police and more information can be found at: http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/safer+communities/protecting+children+and+families/grooming+offence

What questions you could ask to find out more about this area include: 

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  • Are staff trained in how to promote children’s safety and how does this occur?
  • Are they trained in how to recognise abuse and neglect and how does this occur?
  • Do staff and volunteers receive regular training about different forms of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual, and financial and neglect?
  • Are staff and volunteers provided with training regarding risk factors for children with disability being placed in situations where they are not safe?
  • Are all staff included i.e. those providing direct care but also those providing other activities and/or those working in the organisation in non-direct care roles?