Child Safe Standards - What You Need To Know
As a sporting community, it is our responsibility to make children’s safety a priority. The Victorian Government introduced the Child Safe Standards to help create a culture that integrates child safety practices into everyday thinking.
Whether you’re a CEO, sport administrator, paid staff or volunteer, keeping children safe and free from harm is essential. It is up to us as adults, to give children the right to feel valued and safe whilst participating in sport.
The Child Safe Standards exist so people can better understand the risks to children in their care and clearly identify a code of conduct in which concerns can be lodged and managed.
However, to fully understand why the Child Safe Standards are compulsory, we must take a step back and learn why they were first put in place.
In April 2012, the Victorian Government initiated a landmark inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations within religious and other non-religious organisations. The report that stemmed from the inquiry titled, Betrayal of Trust, suggested a number of recommendations organisations need to take on board to create a safe place for children. The Child Safe Standards (the Standards) was a key recommendation.
How do the Standards fit within the sporting industry?
As of 1 January 2017, the Standards apply to sporting organisations that operate and provide facilities and services to children in Victoria, including National Sporting Organisations. The Standards don’t just apply to employees who are in contact with children, they apply to ALL personnel including Board members, CEOs, Executives, paid staff, volunteers, students and contractors.
With the Standards in place at your sporting club, you will have a better understanding of the warning signs and will be able to identify inappropriate behaviours. Having this framework in place will also encourage an environment where children, staff and volunteers are encouraged to speak up at times when there may be a cause for concern.
As a member of a sporting organisation, the following questions need to be asked and discussed to ensure everyone who interacts with children understands the Standards and what action needs to be taken to implement them.
Is your organisation safe? Do you have the right systems in place to protect children from harm and inappropriate behaviour?
These questions can be overwhelming at first, but with access to the right resources and a plan of how your organisation can implement the Standards, the better off your organisation will be long term.
Vicsport encourages state level organisations to contact us, and clubs to contact their relevant State Sporting Association or Regional Sport Assembly for support. Resources are available for download and can be found on the Vicsport Child Safe Standards page.
Should you require further information or would like to speak directly to a Vicsport staff member about the Standards, contact Vicsport on 9698 8100 or email Fiona Jones on firstname.lastname@example.org or Tom Dixon email@example.com.