New Toolkit Shows NFPs How to Create a Child Safe Organisation
23 April 2018 at 5:38 pm
A new toolkit has been launched in the wake of the royal commission to help not-for-profit organisations understand the practical steps they can take to provide safe places for children.
The 2018 Child Safety Toolkit – How to Create a Child Safe Organisation, was launched on Friday by child safety agency Child Wise, training social enterprise Our Community and Victorian law firm Moores.
It offers a practical resource to ensure organisations understand mechanisms for the protection of children and compliance with the law and is based on the Child Safe Principles recommended by Australia’s landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Lead author and principal at Moores, Catherine Brooks, told Pro Bono News the aim of the toolkit was to completely eradicate child abuse, particularly in community organisations.
“We know that a lot of our community organisations are really struggling to know what to do if they’re concerned about a child and particularly how to act post the royal commission,” Brooks said.
“This toolkit is meant to be a 101 guide to help them get started and create a child safe organisation.”
The toolkit, which was originally released in 2016, has been updated to take into account current legislation and best practice advice arising from the royal commission, which revealed evidence about the failure of many organisations, including not for profits, to protect the children within their care.
Brooks said she hoped the royal commission would prove a catalyst for change.
“I think [the royal commission] is having an incredible impact in making sure that we as community organisations know that we need to draw a line in the sand, that it’s not good enough, [and] that the extent of the abuse for our children is occurring,” she said.
“We know that one in four girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused as a child. So we know that this is not good enough and I think the royal commission is really helping everyone understand that everyone needs to play a role in eradicating child abuse in our communities.”
Moores CEO David Wells agreed the release of the royal commission findings in December was where the country “drew a line” under how it approached safeguarding children.
“It’s no longer acceptable to say ‘I didn’t know,’ or ‘We did our best’. Not-for-profit organisations have to get this right,” Wells said.
“The toolkit provides the practical advice even the smallest not-for-profit organisation can use to get on top of their responsibilities and put the right processes in place.”
The free guide includes a compliance checklist as well as a comparison of the rules in different states and territories; and draft policies for organisations to use.
Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds, who endorsed the updated toolkit, said creating a child-safe culture was more than having a set of policies and procedures in place.
“It’s about creating a culture where all staff, volunteers and board members take responsibility for promoting and ensuring child safety,” Ronalds said.
“It’s also about promoting participation and empowerment of children – giving children a voice in decision-making, and not just child safety-related decisions but organisational planning as well.
“When children are empowered in an organisation they are more likely to report concerns in relation to their safety.”
Jane French, the executive director of Child Wise, which merged with Save the Children in December 2017, said everyone played an important role in eliminating child abuse in society.
“Now more than ever it is important that everyone understands their obligations to keep children safe,” French said.
“Every organisation that interacts with children must now actively consider the findings of the Royal Commission and review their policies, procedures, and practices through the lens of child safety.
“We know institutions have failed to keep children safe in the past and as a community we must ensure that this won’t happen again.”