The Andrews Labor Government has delivered on a key election commitment by strengthening protections against child abuse in schools, in line with the remaining Betrayal of Trust recommendations.
New amendments to the Education and Training Reform Act, introduced into Parliament this week, will require all Victorian schools as a condition of registration – including non-government schools – to implement policies that better manage the risk of child abuse and respond to abuse allegations.
The amendments pave the way for a Ministerial Order to ensure all schools meet minimum child safe standards, and empower the schools regulator, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, to conduct quick and targeted reviews to ensure schools are meeting their obligations.
This means that if a school does not put in place policies and procedures for meeting child safe standards, it could be directed to do so or face the prospect of having its registration suspended or cancelled.
Work is underway to apply child safe standards to all organisations that have direct and regular contact with children – such as kindergartens and child care services.
The Department of Education and Training will soon begin consulting stakeholders over the content of the Ministerial Order.
In acting on these amendments in the second sitting week of Parliament in 2015, the Labor Government has reaffirmed its commitment to implement the recommendations from the Betrayal of Trust report in full.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Education, James Merlino
“The aim of these reforms is to get every school to ask what they can do to reduce the risk of child abuse occurring in their organisation.”
“These changes will help keep our next generation in safe hands by making sure schools are equipped to respond and report appropriately when an allegation of child abuse is made.”
“We are keeping our word and implementing the Betrayal of Trust recommendations in full.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020