Child safety and wellbeing

Child safety

The Victorian child safe standards are a compulsory framework that support organisations to promote the safety of children by requiring them to implement policies and procedures to prevent, respond to and report allegations of child abuse.

The standards exist to prevent abuse, to drive cultural change and embed a focus on child safety by placing children’s rights and wellbeing at the forefront of the organisation’s mind.

Importantly, the standards protect children from abuse and harm. But, they also nurture their wellbeing and support their voices. They help children speak out and be heard on the issues affecting them.

Swan Hill Rural City Council is committed to child safety. The Council aims to provide children with a safe and welcoming environment. It also encourages participation. Council has a Child Safe Standards policy. The objectives of this policy include:

  • To reflect Council’s commitment to provide a safe environment where every person has the right to be treated with respect and is safe and protected from harm.
  • To provide Councillors, staff, volunteers and contractors with guidance on their responsibilities for identifying possible occasions for child abuse and for establishing
  • controls and procedures for preventing such abuse and/or detecting such abuse when it occurs.
  • To ensure decisions and actions are consistent with the new Victorian Child Safe Standards.

There are eleven Child Safe Standards

  1. Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued
  2. Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture
  3. Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
  4. Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing
  5. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice
  6. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice
  7. Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused
  8. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training
  9. Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed
  10. Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved
  11. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people

Reporting a child safety concern or complaint

Reporting child abuse is a community-wide responsibility. All adults in Victoria who have a reasonable belief that an adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 have an obligation to report the information to police on 000.

Council staff, volunteers and contractors have a legal and moral obligation to contact authorities when they are concerned about a child’s safety.

Supervisors must also report complaints of suspected abusive behaviour or misconduct to the CEO.  If this behaviour relates directly to a Council staff member please contact Council’s Child Safety Officer on 03 5036 2333.

If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse or to report abuse, contact the Police on 000.

Advice and support for staff and members of the community is available at the National Child Abuse Prevention Helpline on 1800 99 10 99.