New research will help the VRQA to develop resources and guidance to assist Victorian schools embed a culture of child safety, one of the requirements of Ministerial Order No. 870 – child safe standards – managing the risk of child abuse in schools.
The VRQA commissioned the research to gain insights into how principals, teachers, support staff, governing authorities and parents create a culture of child safety in their schools.
The schools selected to participate in the research have exhibited best-practice in achieving a culture of child safety and were drawn from the independent, Catholic and government sectors.
They approached the development of a child safe culture in a variety of ways that were tailored to their own circumstances and students. There were, however, common themes:
- putting child safety into the voice of the child
- having a ‘common language’ so staff discuss safety in everyday settings and children feel confident to speak up
- integrating child safety throughout a school’s physical environment and organisational practices
- allowing no place for complacency and identifying future challenges, for example social media.
The VRQA regulates the Child Safe Standards under Ministerial Order No. 870 which mandates a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to child abuse.
A school’s governing authority is required to:
- develop strategies to embed a culture of child safety at the school
- allocate roles and responsibilities for achieving these strategies
- inform the school community about their child safe strategies, practices, roles and responsibilities
- periodically review the effectiveness of these strategies and revise them, when needed.
For further more information, including case studies, see: