The Australian Government and its state and territory counterparts have unanimously endorsed the new National Principles for Child Safe Organisation, which is part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations are aimed to help institutions around the country develop and maintain cultures and practices that prevent harm to children and young people.
The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations are:
- Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
- Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
- Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
- Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
- People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
- Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.
- Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
- Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
- Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved.
- Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.
The National Office for Child Safety will work with governments and non-government sectors to promote the National Principles and to support their implementation across all sectors.
To support organisations to implement the National Principles, the Australian Human Rights Commission has developed practical tools and resources, which, along with the National Principles, are available at https://childsafe.humanrights.gov.au/
These tools and resources include:
- The Introductory self-assessment tool for organisations which will help organisations consider their current child safe practices and areas for improvement
- The Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy template that addresses the ten National Principles
- The Example Code of Conduct that organisations can adapt to set out expected standards of behaviour when engaging with children and young people
- The Charter of Commitment to children and young people template which would be developed in consultation with children and young people in the organisation
- The Checklist for online safety, developed with the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner, that assists organisations to consider potential safeguarding risks and aspects of online safety to better protect children and young people.
- The Guide for parents and carers helps parents and carers to think about how an organisation operates and to consider its safety and wellbeing arrangements for children.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is also developing e-learning tools for each of the National Principles. These will be available free of charge on its childsafe human rights website later this year.