National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
The draft National Principles are currently with Community Services Ministers for consideration and endorsement. The Secretariat continues to progress work on the tools and resources for organisations.
Child Safe Organisations Web Update
Our website has been updated and the CSO project pages have been given a facelift so they are more user friendly. The menu links provide quick access to key documents, project updates and information about the project. You can now click directly through to the National Principles, the Cultural Safety research and the Tools and Resources. The website is due for further updates in May as more information becomes available.
A range of practical tools will be available on the Child Safe Organisations website in mid-2018. Initially, these will include:
An introductory self-assessment tool for organisations. This educative tool will help organisations learn about the National Principles and identify priority areas for improvement. The tool will give examples of what each principle might look like when implemented in practice, and prompt organisations to commit to taking action to improve their child safe practices.
An organisational Charter of Commitment to children and young people. The development of this tool has been informed by the National Children’s Commissioner’s consultations with children and young people. There will be an example of what a child-friendly Charter of Commitment might look like, based on these consultations. There will also be a template that organisations can use to create their own Charter of Commitment, in the form of a poster communicating what the organisation commits to do to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
An online safety checklist for organisations, developed in partnership with the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner. This tool will outline why online safety is important, identify some potential risks and provide simple steps that an organisation can take to help children and young people be safe online.
A guide for parents and carers. This guide will help parents and carers consider whether an organisation is child-safe. The tool will aim to give parents and carers an introduction to child safe organisations, confidence to ask questions and encouragement to keep informed, involved and speaking with their children about safety issues.
The National Children's Commissioner
Throughout April, in line with the Commissioner’s broader role advocating for the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them, Megan Mitchell attended meetings with a number of national advocacy groups, research academics and non-government organisations and foundations providing services to children and young people. For a full list of Megan’s membership of advisory groups and ambassadorships, see Appendix 3 of the Children’s Rights Report 2017.
On 5 April, Megan Mitchell presented to the Commonwealth Interdepartmental Committee on Child Safe Organisations. Megan gave an overview of her work as National Children’s Commissioner and the reports she has produced in her term. It was an opportunity to give an insight into the response to the recommendations made by Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and provide overview of the National Statement of Principles. Megan provided an update on the progress of the Child Safe Organisations project and what has been achieved to date.
Megan also presented on Child Safe Organisations and the National Statement of Principles to the Association of Independent Schools NSW Governance Symposium. Presenting to school leaders and board members with a legal responsibility for governance and managing risk, it was an excellent opportunity to discuss the National Principles as a pivotal guide in their work. Megan emphasised the vital need for management boards to understand their director duties and legal obligations, and adopt, promote and champion policies, processes and practices around child safety and wellbeing across all operational areas of their schools.
On 24 April, Megan gave the keynote lecture, on Child Safe Organisations, to the Affinity Intercultural Foundation. This organisation aims to promote understanding, tolerance and acceptance between people of diverse backgrounds. The audience consisted of a number of students from Amity Colleges who then performed at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Some image of this fantastic show are below.
Call for submissions
The National Children’s Commissioner is calling for submissions from all people and organisations that have something to say about the state of children’s rights in Australia. Submissions are due by 23 May 2018 The Australian Human Rights Commission, led by Commissioner Mitchell, will report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about Australia’s progress in meeting its child rights obligations by 1 November 2018.. National roundtables will also be conducted in each state throughout May and June. Further details are here.