FINDING THE PROVIDER WHO WILL PROVIDE A SAFE AND POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR CHILD.

UNDERSTANDING SAFEGUARDS, LEGISLATION & STANDARDS SECTION

 

SAFEGUARDS

Children’s safety is also supported by safeguards. This may be a new term.

Safeguards provide safety and protection.  There are many different forms of safeguards. They include laws, policies, programs, practices and activities that protect children from feeling unsafe, physically, emotionally and sexually.

Safeguards include actions that are taken ‘…to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm’ (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 2016).

Examples of safeguards are legal requirements such as:

  • Working with Children Checks and
  • an organisation’s Code of Conduct.

Safeguards do not provide a complete guarantee that children will be protected from harm. However, the more safeguards there are, the stronger the protection will be. 

 

 

 

TYPES OF SAFEGUARDS

Overarching safeguards include legislation, policies and frameworks that apply to all organisations and providers. These safeguards ensure providers maintain a safe environment for all children.

These safeguards operate at the international level, the National (or Commonwealth) level, and at the Victorian State level.

Understanding National Safeguards

The NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is a Commonwealth Government initiative that provides a new way to help people with disability receive care and support.

Visit the NDIS website to find out who can access the NDIS: http://www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-access-checklist or for general information: www.ndis.gov.au, You can call the NDIS on 1800 800 110.

You can also visit Disability Loop, the website of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations to find out more about NDIS:  http://www.disabilityloop.org.

Understanding Victorian Safeguards

There are several layers of safeguards in Victoria including some new legislation;  the Child Safe Standards.

Child Safe Standards

The Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safety Standards) Act 2015 identifies seven Child Safe Standards. These are now compulsory for all organisations providing services to children. They aim to ensure safety and protecting children from harm and abuse is embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of leaders, staff and volunteers.

Organisations must consider the safety of children with a disability when they implement the seven standards.

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  • Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety;
  • Standard 2: A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety;
  • Standard 3: A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
  • Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
  • Standard 5: Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
  • Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove the risk of abuse
  • Standard 7: Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children

Further information about the Child Safe Standards can be found on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website: http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/documents-and-resources/policies,-guidelines-and-legislation/child-safe-standards

Promoting a safe environment for children in Victoria

Victoria also has a number of champions who ensure all organisations know how to promote a safe environment and how to respond to situations where that safety has been threatened. These include:

  • The Commission for Children and Young People,
  • The Principal Commissioner,
  • The Disability Services Commissioner and
  • organisations such as Child Wise.

The Commission for Children and Young People’s web site is http://www.ccyp.vic.gov.au/. They have developed a number of excellent child safety tip sheets for parents and organisations including ‘what do look for in a child safe organisation, Safety of Children with a Disability (http://www.ccyp.vic.gov.au/downloads/tipsheets/tipsheet-safety-children-disability.pdf).