A series of free, online training modules to help organisations increase their knowledge and understanding of child safety was released today by the National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell, at a national forum in Sydney.
The Forum on Child Safe Organisations, hosted by the Commissioner, included a range of high-profile leaders of organisations involved in the provision of services and supports to children – from sporting networks, to youth groups, education, health, child and family services, and international aid agencies. The forum provided an opportunity for leaders to exchange information about efforts within their own sectors and organisations to foster and embed the cultural and practice change needed to keep children safe and well.
The modules support the training required to implement the ten National Child Safe Principles which were endorsed by COAG in February 2019, based on the child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
"The principles, which were developed by the Commission in partnership with the Australian Government, go beyond sexual abuse to cover all forms of potential harms to children and apply to all organisations working for and with children across Australia.
"They have a particular focus on the importance of respecting children’s rights and the connection between child voice and child safety. The principles also recognise the benefits that children derive from being involved in organisations of various kinds," said Ms Mitchell.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has also developed a range of practical tools and resources to help organisations implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
Among those speaking at today's forum was former professional soccer player and human rights advocate, Craig Foster, who says everyone needs to reflect on whether we have created an environment in which children feel able to voice their concerns.
"So let us be leaders, then, to move forward in a positive way from a process that shocked Australia to its core. We let down so many children whose right to the fullest realisation of their potential was severely compromised. We need to ensure that we look after those in our care, provide safe and protective environments for our children to grow, prosper and excel. Whether within sport, or without.
“May children of every age, background, religion, gender or sexual orientation have an equal, fair, safe and supportive environment in which to fulfil their true potential,” said Mr Foster.
Neville Tomkins from Scouts Australia NSW, Peter Downs from Play by the Rules, and Jocelyn Condon, from the Australian Council for International Development also addressed the forum and shared their child safe journeys.
The Commission has developed 11 e-learning modules to support organisations in implementing the National Principles, as well as a suite of free tools and resources. These are all available now at https://childsafe.humanrights.gov.au/