Child Safety in Sport

Every child has the right to participate safely in sport

Child safety in sport means protecting children from abuse, providing safe, quality experiences and empowering children’s voices. The Victorian Government’s Betrayal of Trust report and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted just how significant an issue child safety is within sport and that action is required now.

In Victoria, children aged 5 to 14 have the highest participation rates in organised sport. Child safety should be a core business strategy for sport organisations wanting to attract and retain under 18 members.

Vicsport is committed to helping create safe, supportive, and protective sporting environments for children and young people across Victoria.


Child Safe Standards

In 2012-2013, a Victorian Government inquiry investigated the handling of child abuse by religious and non-government organisations. The inquiry’s final report, Betrayal of Trust, made several recommendations that have been acted on by the Victorian Government. The creation of Child Safe Standards (the Standards) was one of the key recommendations.

Child abuse is a current issue in Victoria, affecting 1 in 5 children across a range of locations and settings, including sport and recreation. Across the state, in 2019-20 there were 122,179 reports made to child protection authorities, and in 15% of these cases the allegations of abuse were substantiated.

There are seven Standards which apply to all organisations who provide a service to children. This includes sporting organisations, leagues, clubs and associations. The Standards detail how your organisation will protect children from abuse through policies and procedures, and develop a culture of child safety, including the safety of children with a disability, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander children and children from CALD backgrounds.

Click below to review each of the seven Child Safe Standards.

The Child Safe Standards

The Standards are implemented by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP). They are an independent statutory body that promotes improvement in policies and practices affecting the safety and wellbeing of Victorian children and young people, with a particular focus on vulnerable children and young people.

Yes, the Standards are mandated in the Child, Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. Since 1 January 2017, the Standards have applied to sporting organisations that operate and provide sporting services to children (defined as persons under 18) within Victoria.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Clubs, associations and leagues.
  • Regional sport assemblies.
  • State sporting organisations.
  • National sporting organisations based in Victoria.
  • Other sporting organisations delivering services to children.

The Standards apply to all personnel in your organisation, regardless of the number of children involved in your organisation. This includes:

  • Board of Management / Committee Members.
  • All paid staff (CEO, Executive, Employees).
  • All Volunteers (Coaches, officials, administrators, scorers etc).
  • All students on placement.
  • Any contractors you engage.

It also includes (but is not limited to):

  • Clubs, associations and leagues.
  • Regional sport assemblies.
  • State sporting organisations.
  • National sporting organisations based in Victoria.
  • Other sporting organisations delivering services to children.

Child abuse is defined as:

  • Sexual abuse (including grooming, with the intent to sexually harm a child).
  • Physical abuse or violence.
  • Serious psychological or emotional abuse.
  • Serious neglect.

The Standards apply to the safety of all children who are involved in your sport. Research shows that children from some population groups are at a higher risk of abuse than others.

As such, each of the Standards must also be understood and applied in the context of:

  • The cultural safety of Aboriginal children.
  • The cultural safety of children from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse.
  • The safety of children with a disability.

If you have a child safety matter to report:



Resources

Vicsport’s child safe resources are designed for use by clubs, associations, leagues, state sport associations, regional sports assemblies, local governments and other sport or recreation organisations.

Click here to download all Vicsport child safe sport resources (zip folder).

Starting Out

Promoting Child Safe Culture

Creating a Plan

Developing Policy & Procedures



Support

One-on-One Support

Vicsport operates a child safe ‘help desk’ during normal business hours. Our expert staff can provide guidance and advice on all matters regarding child safety in sport and recreation. We offer:

  • Advice by phone, online or email.
  • Face to face meetings.
  • Document reviews.
  • Presentations to club development forums.

The help desk is open to Vicsport members, including the affiliate clubs, leagues and associations of our state sport association and regional sports assembly member organisations.


Child Safe Community of Practice

With the support of Sport & Recreation Victoria, Vicsport leads regular child safe community of practice sessions. These sessions are open to all Vicsport member organisations and meets every two months. Contact us if you would like to be added to the invite list.


Fee for Service

Vicsport can conduct comprehensive child safe reviews for sport organisations. Our expert staff can lead you through the process of becoming a child safe organisation, assisting with stakeholder consultation, policy and process development, child safe culture development and action planning to develop and maintain child safe sport environments.


What else Do I Need to Know?

Click on these links to learn more about the Reportable Conduct Scheme (which might apply to some sport organisations) and the Working With Children Check.

The Reportable Conduct Scheme
Working With Children Check


Who Can I Contact?

The Vicsport main line (03) 9698 8100. Our child safe contacts are:

Tom DixonFiona Jones Meredith Hodson
Participation &
Innovation Manager
tomd@vicsport.com.au
Sports Consultant
fionaj@vicsport.com.au
Events & Membership
Coordinator
admin@vicsport.com.au


Additional Safety Resources can be found at:


Other contacts

Sports Clubs, Leagues and Associations are also encouraged to contact the following organisations for assistance:


The resources developed by Vicsport and complied on this webpage are supported by the State Government of Victoria.

DISCLAIMER: While all care has been taken in the preparation of this information, none of the author(s) or Vicsport including its officers, employees and agents, make any representation or warranty as to, or take any responsibility for, the accuracy, reliability, completeness or currency of any information or recommendations contained in this information, nor its usefulness in achieving any purpose. Vicsport is not liable to users of this information for any loss or damage however caused resulting from the use of this information, and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of the information or your reliance upon it. Vicsport recommends users seek independent legal advice to ensure compliance with the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act and the Child Safe Standards. Vicsport reserves all of its rights.


Government Partners

Preferred Suppliers