NFP Child Protection Laws Start in Victoria
Tuesday, 12th January 2016 at 9:53 am
Victorian organisations that work with children and are funded or regulated by the Victorian Government must now comply with mandatory child safety standards and reporting obligations.
The new laws, which aim to ensure that organisations that deal with children have appropriate and consistent measures in place to prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse, came into effect from 1 January.
The standards came from the recommendation made by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations (the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry).
Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, said the standards would drive cultural change in organisations so that protecting children from abuse was embedded in everyday thinking and practice of leaders, staff and volunteers.
The standards currently apply to organisations that provide services for children and receive government funding or are covered by regulation or contractual requirements, such as hospitals, schools and early childhood services.
From 1 January 2017 the government said the standards would apply to all other organisations that provide services or facilities for children but receive little or no government funding, such as sporting groups and child entertainment providers.
“The standards were developed after extensive consultation with around 160 community sector and government stakeholders,” Minister Mikakos said.
The government said the standards were backed up by comprehensive guidance materials, information sessions, and templates and tools so organisations can create and maintain a safe environment for children.
The resources include an overview to the Victorian child safe standards, which has example measures that organisations can put in place to meet the standards, and a self-assessment tool and a toolkit for organisations, which includes guidance on human resources, good leadership and what to do if a child discloses abuse.
“We will be helping organisations implement these standards so Victoria’s children are safer. These standards will help organisations, clubs and individuals that interact with children to do all they can to prevent abuse and respond quickly,” Mikakos said.