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Regular risk assessments can help your organisation identify the strengths and areas for improvement in relation to creating child safe environments.
Risk assessments are best done with staff and volunteers. Working together as a team will help you to cover more and develop everyone’s commitment to building child safe environments.
In a risk assessment you need to consider:
- the types of activities that your organisation provides
- opportunities within those activities for a person to be on their own with a child or children, or to develop relationships of trust with children and/or their families
- risk of harm to children because of the action or inaction of a person involved (including volunteers, parents and other children)
- physical surroundings in which the activity is undertaken
- ages and abilities of children
- the impact that organisational culture may have on achieving your objectives regarding establishing a child safe environment.
A typical risk assessment:
- identifies what could go wrong
- ranks the likelihood of risk events occurring (high – very likely to happen, medium – could happen or low – unlikely to happen)
- ranks the impact of the risk event (high – would be catastrophic, medium – would be fairly damaging, low – would have little impact)
- identifies ways to mitigate the risk.
Use the aims above to develop an action plan to address the risks. Risks with high likelihood and high impact should be addressed first. Your organisation should work through the list until all mitigation strategies are fully implemented.
Your organisation should regularly review its risk management plan. This will help you to ensure your plan is operating effectively and to promptly respond to any new risks to children that may be identified.