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  • 'Child' means anyone under 18. The content on the following pages makes reference to child abuse, including sexual abuse, which some readers may find confronting. Support is available from Kids Helpline, Lifeline and Beyond Blue.

Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme

In 2012, the Victorian Government initiated an inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations within religious and other non-government organisations.

The Betrayal of Trust Report made a range of recommendations, including the need to better protect children from child abuse when they access services provided by organisations.

To address the outcomes of the Betrayal of Trust Report  the Victorian Government introduced the Victorian Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme. These are overseen by the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People (The Commission) - more information is available on their website

Merri-bek City Council is required by law to implement both the Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme.

Child Safe Standards

There are eleven Child Safe Standards; each Standard has several minimum requirements (50 in total), that Council is required to implement.

The Standards are consistent with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations used across Australia. In Victoria, they are a compulsory framework; they support Council to promote the safety of children and young people by requiring us to implement policies and procedures, to prevent, respond to and report allegations of child abuse and harm. 

The eleven Child Safe Standards are: 

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

There is more information about the Standards on the Commission website, including information translated into several community languages.

Reportable Conduct Scheme

The Reportable Conduct Scheme focuses on the reporting and investigation of allegations of certain types of abuse or misconduct by employees, contractors or volunteers. Reportable conduct against a child or young person are:

  • sexual offences
  • sexual misconduct
  • physical violence
  • significant emotional or psychological harm
  • significant neglect

Council must have systems in place to:

  • prevent child abuse and, if abuse is alleged, ensure allegations are brought to the attention of the appropriate person for investigation and response; and
  • ensure the Commission for Children and Young People is notified and given updates on the response to the allegation.

You can find more information and report a child safe issue or complaint about Council on our website.  All reports will be treated seriously, responded to quickly and investigated thoroughly. 

The Commission website has more information about the Reportable conduct scheme, including translated information, and how to report abuse that occurred in the past. 

The Blue Knot website - provides support to adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, parents, partners, families and friends as well as professionals who work with them.