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  • Writer's pictureHelen Haydock

Keeping children safe: beyond compliance

Updated: Jun 24

Organisations that work with children have an obligation to keep children and young people safe.

Across Australia the States and Territories have implemented a range of legislation to ensure the people working with children have the skills, policies and resources to keep children safe, yet reports of children experiencing harm within organisations continue.

Compliance with the legislation is essential but it needs to be deeper than Working With Children Checks and policy.

Everyone working with (or volunteering with) children needs to understand their role in keeping children safe. This can be particularly difficult for larger organisations or those with a large volunteer base.

It can be helpful for leadership to ask themselves the following questions.

Could my staff (and volunteers) recognise the signs that another adult was grooming a child/children within the organisation?

Organisations who cater to children can unfortunately be targeted by individuals who want to harm children. Perpetrators who sexually offend against children will engage in grooming to reduce the likelihood that a child will speak up. Other adults can also be groomed so if a child does speak up they are less likely to be believed.

How do my staff ensure that all children and families are welcome?

Do they consider the make up of their individual communities? What steps are my team taking to ensure a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued?

As an organisation it is important to regularly consider what barriers might exist for children and families engaging with you and seeking support when needed.

Does everyone know how to implement our Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy?

Is it accessible to our volunteers and the children and families who use our services?

Good policies are important but it is essential that staff know how to implement the policies to keep children safe.

How do we empower children so they can speak up if they have a concern?

Organisations where children are seen and not heard are more at risk, particularly if children are not empowered to speak up and have a voice.

Growing Futures training will help your staff understand child safety and develop strategies that suit your organisation.

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