'Have Your Say' on the Draft Child Safety Standards Policy and Reportable Conduct Scheme Policy and Procedures.
The draft Child Safety Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme policy are now open for public comment. We encourage you to read both draft policies and provide your feedback by clicking on the green button at the bottom of this page. Consultation closes 12.00pm on Monday 23 April.
For further information contact Sharon McArthur, Manager Child Youth & Family Services on 5366 7100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On 17 April 2012, the Victorian Government initiated an Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations (Betrayal of Trust Inquiry). The Betrayal of Trust report was tabled in Parliament on 13 November 2013 and made 15 recommendations including compulsory minimum standards for creating child-safe environments. On 26 November 2015, the Victorian Parliament passed the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Act 2015 (The Act) to introduce Child Safe Standards.
The seven Child Safe Standards support organisations that provide services to children to prevent child abuse, encourage reporting of abuse and increase the effectiveness of responses to allegations of child abuse. Council will support the Child Safe Standards through the review of the following Policy documents and their supporting documentation including Council plans, strategies along with training and induction of Council staff. The Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 Amendment requires all Councils to adopt and maintain a ‘Child Safe’ policy and comply with compulsory Child Safe Standards.
The ‘failure to disclose’ and ‘failure to act’ offences were introduced as part of the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Act 2014. The failure to ‘disclose act’ requires that any adult over 18 who holds a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed in Victoria by an adult against a child must disclose inform police. The criminal offence for ‘failing to protect’ a child imposes penalties for a ‘person in authority’ within Council if they know of the risk of abuse, have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but failed to do so. The ‘reportable conduct’ scheme is a child safety mechanism introduced as a result of the Betrayal of Trust report. Council has the responsibility for reporting any allegations of ‘reportable conduct’ raised against employees (and contractors, volunteers, and other office holders) who are 18 years or over to the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP).
The Reportable Conduct Scheme imposes new obligations on the heads of organisations (CEO). This includes requirements to:
- Have in place systems to prevent child abuse and, if child abuse is alleged, to ensure allegations can be brought to the attention of appropriate persons for investigation and response.
- Ensure that the Commission is notified and given updates on the organisation’s response to an allegation.
Council already has a number of policies relating to work with children and young people, due to the new legislation two new policies; Child Safety Standards Policy and the Reportable Conduct Scheme Policy have been developed to assist Council in meeting its new legislative requirements.