Royal Commission identifies what makes institutions child safe

18 August 2016

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a research report examining what elements make an institution ‘child safe’ using the opinions of a panel of Australian and international experts.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said this research report, Key Elements of a child-safe organisation – Research study will assist institutions to prevent, identify and improve responses to physical, sexual, emotional/psychological abuse and the neglect of children.

“The research report, conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre and the Parenting Research Centre, included input from 40 academics, children’s commissioners and guardians, as well as regulators and other child safe industry experts and practitioners,” Mr Reed said.

To complement this work, the Royal Commission has also released a brief publication outlining the Royal Commission’s views on the elements that make an organisation child safe. This will enable institutions to continue their work in strengthening their child safe practices.

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 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.

Read Key Elements of a child-safe organisation – Research study.

Read Creating child safe institutions.

The Royal Commission’s final report will be handed to government in December 2017.

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