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January 2016: New child safe standards – Managing the risk of child abuse

financial management The Victorian Government has introduced child safe standards for organisations that work with children.

Children have the right to be safe and protected. Child abuse, and arrangements that allow it to occur, will not be tolerated.

The child safe standards strengthen existing approaches to preventing and responding to child abuse, and provide for consistency in how these issues are managed.

The introduction of child safe standards forms part of the Victorian Government’s response to the recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust report, which found that more must be done to prevent and respond to child abuse in organisations.

Registered schools and the child safe standards
Ministerial Order 870 (pdf - 2.03mb) sets out the specific actions that schools need to take to meet the child safe standards. A new minimum standard for school registration requires schools to meet the requirements of this Ministerial Order.

You can prepare now by familiarising yourself and key staff at your school with the contents of the child safe standards and the Ministerial Order.

In mid-February the VRQA will distribute a child safe readiness tool that will allow school professionals to check their current level of readiness to comply with the new requirements. It will also help the VRQA understand how to assist schools to implement the standards.

When does my organisation need to meet the child safe standards?
Registered schools have until 1 August 2016 to meet the requirements of the child safe standards, as specified in Ministerial Order 870. 

The child safe standards apply to overseas secondary student exchange programs and non-school senior secondary providers from 1 January 2016. Compliance for those organisations will be managed through existing regulatory arrangements.

Affected VET providers will be required to meet the child safe standards from 1 January 2017.

The VRQA will develop and provide resources in 2016 to assist you to meet the requirements of the Ministerial Order.

Further information is available at the VRQA, Department of Education and Training, and Department of Health and Human Services websites.