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Monday, 22 August 2016 09:39

Creating child safe institutions

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world day of prayer 2016The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published a report examining 10 key elements required to create a 'child safe' institution.

It was based on a research study prepared for the Royal Commission by the Social Policy Research Centre and the Parenting Research Centre to obtain advice, opinion and consensus from a panel of 40 Australian and international independent experts, including academics, children’s commissioners and guardians, regulators and other child safe industry experts and practitioners on what should constitute key principles, elements and sub-elements of child safe organisations.

The elements of a child safe institution have been underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Australia ratified in 1990. The key elements of child-safe institutions are:
1. Child safety is embedded in institutional leadership, governance and culture.
2. Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
3. Families and communities are informed and involved.
4. Equity is promoted and diversity respected.
5. People working with children are suitable and supported.
6. Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focused.
7. Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training.
8. Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur.
9. Implementation of child safe standards is continuously reviewed and improved.
10. Policies and procedures document how the institution is child safe.

The Royal Commission’s final report, to be handed to the federal government in December 2017, will include a volume dedicated to making institutions child safe. It will include a detailed explanation of the child safe elements and recommendations in this report. However, Royal Commissioners considered it timely to publish this research study and disseminate the proposed child safe elements so that institutions can continue their ongoing work of strengthening child safety practices.

Read the report "Creating Child Safe Institutions" (July 2016).

Read the Research Study: Key Elements of Child Safe Organisations" by the Social Policy Research Centre and the Parenting Research Centre.

Read more published research reports commissioned by the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.