Child Protection Changes to Impact Charities and NFPs
17 July 2018 at 4:18 pm
Changes to child protection legislation in wake of the child sexual abuse royal commission will impact the way charities and not for profits deal with children and prompt a review of practices, a leading out-of-home care provider believes.
The Victorian government last week released its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the government had accepted in full or in principle 293 of the recommendations that apply to Victoria, and would further consider another 24 recommendations.
“We have delivered a number of recommendations from the (royal commission) to make sure that survivors of institutional child sexual abuse receive the recognition, respect and support they deserve,” Pakula said.
The government said it was continually improving its systems for protecting children, accepting numerous royal commission recommendations regarding creating child safe organisations, institutional reporting and contemporary out-of-home care (OOHC).
Paul McDonald, the CEO of leading OOHC provider Anglicare Victoria, told Pro Bono News these changes would have a significant impact on how the social sector deals with children.
He said while OOHC standards and requirements had increased in the past five to seven years, these changes had been broadly welcomed.
“They’re not the silver bullet, but I think they are very important to ensuring that the environment is up to the standards of care for a child and also ensuring organisations are accountable against those standards,” McDonald said.
“It has had an administrative impact, (requiring) additional investment to ensure you are compliant to these standards but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing… as it is recognition of the importance of these standards.”
Some of the Victorian government’s changes to create child safe organisations include the introduction of compulsory Victorian Child Safe Standards to drive cultural change in organisations, and also a reportable conduct scheme regarding allegations of child-related misconduct.
McDonald said these changes would likely prompt affected social sector organisations to conduct a review of their practices.
“Many agencies are in front of this game and are continuing to review their practices to ensure they are of a standard that would be compliant against any new legislation,” he said.
“And if that hasn’t happened it certainly will happen within those agencies given the legislation, but as a representative of one of those agencies we’ve seen these changes coming for some time and so organisations [should] move quickly rather than just waiting for these changes to be legislated.”