In August 2013, we released Issues Paper 3 - Child Safe Institutions. Since this time, we have been examining evidence of what makes institutions 'child safe'.

We have identified 10 key elements of a child safe institution. We commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre and the Parenting Research Centre to undertake a research study to test the elements of a child safe organisation. This involved obtaining systematic feedback from a panel of 40 Australian and international independent experts.

Read the report, Key elements of Child Safe Organisations, and an overview of the 10 child safe elements, Creating child safe institutions.

We are currently considering the way in which these elements should be implemented, opportunities to build the capacity of institutions and mechanisms for holding institutions to account through independent oversight and monitoring.

Working with Children Checks

Key elements of a child safe organisation include adequate staff recruitment, selection and screening practices.

Working with Children Checks are one tool that can help ensure the right people are selected to work with children.

The Royal Commission released its report on Working with Children Checks on 17 August 2015. The recommendations in the report aim to strengthen the protection children receive through Working with Children Checks.

Complaint handling and responding to allegations

The Royal Commission is investigating what makes for effective complaint handling when child sexual abuse occurs.

Institutions need to have policies and protocols in place to address all allegations, reports, suspicions, concerns, breaches of the code of conduct or other disclosures of behaviour that may constitute or relate to child sexual abuse.


High quality records and recordkeeping practices can be critically important in the context of child sexual abuse.

The Royal Commission is examining how recordkeeping practices can promote transparency and accountability in decision-making; help identify persons who may pose a risk to children; and document allegations and incidents of abuse and how they have been responded to.

Out-of-home care

Children living in out-of-home care can be at increased risk of child sexual abuse. Our work in this area will assist in preventing child sexual abuse in out-of-home care and responding to allegations of child sexual abuse occurring in out-of-home care.


The Royal Commission is focusing on what should change in the future to make schools safe for children. Our policy work is bringing together the evidence gathered through private sessions and public hearings with 11 schools, stakeholder views and research.