Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse tabled its final report today. The full report, in 17 volumes, can be downloaded with a range of supporting materials from the Royal Commission’s website.
In the 315 page Volume 13 relating to schools the Royal Commission makes a number of specific recommendations outlined below:
Child Safe Standards (Chapter 5)
All schools should implement the Child Safe Standards identified by the Royal Commission.
State and territory independent oversight authorities responsible for implementing the Child Safe Standards (see Recommendation 6.10) should delegate to school registration authorities the responsibility for monitoring and enforcing the Child Safe Standards in government and non-government schools.
School registration authorities should place particular emphasis on monitoring government and non-government boarding schools to ensure they meet the Child Safe Standards. Policy guidance and practical support should be provided to all boarding schools to meet these standards, including advice on complaint handling.
Supporting boarding schools (Chapter 5)
The Australian Government and state and territory governments should ensure that needs-based funding arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding students are sufficient for schools and hostels to create child safe environments.
Boarding hostels for children and young people should implement the Child Safe Standards identified by the Royal Commission. State and territory independent oversight authorities should monitor and enforce the Child Safe Standards in these institutions.
Responding to complaints relating to children with harmful sexual behaviours
Consistent with the Child Safe Standards, complaint handling policies for schools (see Recommendation 7.7) should include effective policies and procedures for managing complaints about children with harmful sexual behaviours.
Guidance for teachers and principals (Chapter 5)
State and territory governments should provide nationally consistent and easily accessible guidance to teachers and principals on preventing and responding to child sexual abuse in all government and non-government schools.
Teacher registration (Chapter 5)
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) should consider strengthening teacher registration requirements to better protect children from sexual abuse in schools. In particular, COAG should review minimum national requirements for assessing the suitability of teachers, and conducting disciplinary investigations.
There are also a number of other recommendations of more general applicability contained in the Appendix to the Volume.
Regardless of any legislative response from Government all schools will need to consider the Report, its observations, conclusions and recommendations and review their child protection policies and practices. More information and advice will be given to schools in relation to the Report and its recommendation next year.
A copy of Volume 13 – Schools of the Final Report can be downloaded from the website above or the link below.