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  • Writer's pictureHelen Haydock

What is a Child Safe Organisation? (And why does it matter?)

Over the next few posts I will explore what it means to be a Child Safe organisation. What does it mean for organisations working with children? What does it mean for parents or guardians? If you have any questions I'd love to answer them - please comment below!

Creating safe environments

As someone who both trains organisations in Child Safe Standards and Principles and is a parent, I understand the importance of ensuring children's safety. Unfortunately, children can experience harm within organisations that are supposed to care for them. Harm could come from perpetrators, or poor practices within the organisation. To prevent such incidents, it is crucial for organisations to prioritise child safety over their own needs.

What defines a Child Safe organisation?

According to the Australian and New Zealand Children's Commissioners and Guardians, a child safe organisation is one that:

  1. Creates conditions to reduce the likelihood of children being harmed.

  2. Creates conditions that increase the likelihood of identifying and reporting harm.

  3. Responds appropriately to disclosures, allegations, and suspicions of harm.

Understanding the layers of protection

As we can see it's not one thing that keeps children safe. Organisations need lots of strategies to recognise where a child might be at risk and to respond. Let's expand on each of the steps above and look at how organisations make them happen.

Reducing the likelihood of harm.

  • Ensuring that staff and volunteers working with children are suitable and well-trained.

  • Identifying and minimizing potential risks within the organisation.

  • Establishing transparent policies and processes.

  • Conducting ongoing risk assessments.

Identifying and reporting harm:

  • Empowering children to voice their concerns and providing them with clear channels of communication.

  • Equipping staff and volunteers with training to recognise signs of harm and respond appropriately.

  • Implementing transparent complaint handling procedures.

  • Encouraging staff to speak up if they have concerns, with a strong focus on child safety.

Responding to disclosures and allegations:

  • Establishing comprehensive and transparent complaint handling policies.

  • Providing training to staff on how to respond to disclosures, allegations, and suspicions of harm.

  • Prioritising the safety of children in risk management plans.

The role of parents and guardians

Parents and guardians need to understand the characteristics of child safe organisations and actively engage in safeguarding our children's welfare. Stay tuned for the next posts, where we will explore this topic further.


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