Discussion paper

This paper seeks the views of organisations providing services or facilities for children and young people, peak associations, regulators, government agencies, and families, children and young people on the implementation and operation of Victoria’s child safe standards and associated regulatory framework. The standards were fully operational on 1 January 2017.

The Victorian child safe standards support organisations to be safer for children by requiring organisations to implement policies and procedures to prevent, respond to and report allegations of child abuse.

In December 2017, the Commonwealth Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) handed down its final report recommending ten child safe standards. The Royal Commission’s standards differ in some respects from Victoria’s child safe standards.

As part of ensuring that Victoria’s child safe standards remain as strong as possible, the Victorian Government has committed to review its child safe standards and to consider whether any adjustments are needed to the standards or the regulatory scheme to better align with the recommendations made by the Royal Commission. The review is also an opportunity to assess whether the Victorian child safe standards have been understood and implemented by organisations in their initial period of operation in a way that promotes improvements in the child safe culture in organisations and whether the regulatory scheme that supports compliance with the child safe standards is operating effectively.

The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) invites stakeholders to provide feedback on:

  • organisations’ experiences with implementing Victoria’s child safe standards
  • the relative strengths and weaknesses of the child safe standards including your views on whether the standards are helping to develop a child safe culture in organisations
  • any features of a high quality regulatory oversight, monitoring and enforcement framework that are not currently captured in Victoria’s Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic)
  • the Royal Commission’s recommended child safe standards as incorporated into the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (the National Principles).

Your ideas will help to inform the Victorian Government’s actions regarding the child safe standards. This review will also provide valuable evidence about Victoria’s experiences in implementing and regulating mandatory child safe standards and will help to inform ongoing work on the development of a nationally consistent approach to child safe standards in Australia.

This issues paper asks a number of questions in each of the main sections related to your experiences with Victoria’s child safe standards and the associated regulatory scheme, as well as your thoughts on any changes that may be required arising from the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

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