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Children and young people have a right to be safe and protected at all times, including when accessing services in the community.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 requires certain organisations to provide a child safe environment.
Organisations that do not take appropriate steps to protect children’s safety and wellbeing may be poorly equipped to manage and respond to risks that may arise regarding the safety and well-being of children accessing their services.
Child safe environments are safe and friendly settings where children feel respected, valued and encouraged to reach their full potential.
Organisations providing child safe environments:
- take a preventative, proactive and participatory stance on child protection issues
- value and embrace the opinions and views of children and young people
- assist children and young people to build skills that will assist them to participate in society
- are focused on the protection of children and young people and take action to protect them from harm
- provide parents, guardians or carers with evidence of their child safe environments policies and procedures when requested.
Organisations include those that provide the following activities and services:
- accommodation and residential services for children
- those provided by religious organisations (including organisations providing spiritual or pastoral services)
- childcare or child-minding services
- child protection services
- those provided by operating sporting, recreational, cultural or artistic clubs or associations with significant membership or involvement of children
- coaching or tuition services for children
- commercial services provided directly to children, including:
- the sale or supply of goods or services where physical contact with children would reasonably be expected to occur
- recreational services where contact with children would be reasonably expected to occur (such as a play gym)
- entertainment services provided at children parties or events (such as face painting or the hire of bouncy castles)
- entertainment services where a person appearing or performing as a costumed character that is likely to appeal to children (such as a sports mascot or Santa Claus)
- photography of children
- competitions held primarily for children, or where there is a children’s category (such as beauty pageants and talent shows)
- disability services for children
- education services for children (including preschool, primary and secondary education, but not tertiary education)
- health services for children (including allied health services)
- justice and detention services for children
- transport services for children
- other persons or bodies declared in the regulations which include:
- non-government organisations that provide welfare or cultural services wholly or partly for children.
Organisation in this context includes sole traders or people working in partnerships.
These requirements also apply to State Authorities as defined in the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017.
Your organisation should commit to promoting the safety, wellbeing and participation of children and young people, this should be firmly embedded through your organisation’s culture.
This commitment should be reflected in the child safe environments policies and procedures and understood and practised across all levels of the organisation.
- Prepare or adopt policies and procedures that:
- support mandatory notifiers to report and respond to children and young people at risk of harm as outlined in the mandatory notification page
- ensure safe environments for children and young people are maintained
- meet relevant history information obligations relevant to the organisation type
- lodge a child safe environments compliance statement with the Department of Human Services.
Child safe environments policies and procedures should be reviewed regularly. Where an organisation expands the services they offer to children and young people, undergoes a substantial change to the responsible or managing authority or experiences an event or incident where children or young people were, or could have been at risk of harm, the policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated as required.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 requires that at a minimum organisations must review policies and procedures (and if they make any changes re-lodge a compliance statement) at least once in every 5 year period.