Children will be better protected from the risks of abuse within organisations under proposed amendments by the Andrews Labor Government to legislation introduced to the Victorian Parliament today.
The amendments will drive cultural change in organisations so that protecting children from abuse becomes part of everyday thinking and practice for those that work with children.
Introduced by the Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, the amendments give the Commission for Children and Young People powers to ensure organisations meet Victoria’s Child Safe Standards.
Under the standards, organisations must have measures in place to prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse.
The Commission will monitor compliance by requesting relevant information from organisations, undertaking regular visits and issuing notices to improve child safety practices.
Fines will also be introduced for not complying with the standards, which is consistent with legislative child safety schemes in Queensland and South Australia.
The Child Safe Standards came into effect on 1 January 2016 for organisations that provide services for children and receive government funding, or are covered by existing regulation or contractual requirements.
From 1 January 2017, the standards will apply to all other organisations that provide services or facilities for children but receive little or no government funding – such as sporting groups, religious organisations and child entertainment providers.
The Commission for Children and Young People will continue to provide support to organisations to meet the standards, and will have appropriate powers to ensure all organisations are meeting their requirements.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Child safety is everyone’s responsibility. The Child Safe Standards drive continuous improvement in organisations that work with children – preventing abuse from occurring and responding effectively when it does.”
“We have not wasted a day in doing all we can to keep our kids safe, and this is an important step so organisations that deal with children can better prevent and respond to allegations of abuse and misconduct.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020