You’ve probably been hearing a lot of talk about the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations this year. You may have heard that funding for certain services will be tied to compliance with the National Principles. But what are the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, and what does your organisation need to know?
Where did the National Principles come from?
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held 57 formal public hearings about child sexual abuse within institutions across many different sectors, hearing from 1,200 witnesses over 400 days, across all Australian capital cities and in several regional areas. These case studies focused on how institutions responded to allegations and proven instances of child sexual abuse (Royal Commission Final Report, 2017).
From this enormous body of work, the Royal Commission recommended organisational child safe standards to provide a nationally consistent approach to creating organisational cultures that foster child safety and wellbeing across all sectors in Australia.
The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations were developed by the National Children’s Commissioner and reflect the ten child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission, with a broader scope that goes beyond sexual abuse to cover other forms of potential harm.
All organisations working with children must take steps to prevent abuse. You cannot assume that child abuse does not, and cannot happen, within your organisation.
Anybody who thinks that the abuse of children in organisations is a thing of the past is sadly very, very mistaken. The number and nature of allegations of harm to children is incredibly high.
The National Principles outline at a high level the ten elements that are fundamental to making an organisation safe for children.
How to implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations in your organisation
To help you implement the National Principles, each principle has key action areas that reflect the core components of the Royal Commission’s child safe standards. There are also indicators to help you know whether each principle is being upheld in your organisation.
Principle 3: Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
Key Action Area 3.3: Families and communities have a say in the development and review of the organisation’s policies and practices.
Indicator: The organisation seeks feedback from families and communities on issues of child safety and wellbeing and incorporates this into their policies and practices.
Implementing the National Principles will help make you a child safe organisation, one that:
- creates an environment where children’s safety and wellbeing is the centre of thought, values and actions;
- places emphasis on genuine engagement with and valuing of children;
- creates conditions that reduce the likelihood of harm to children and young people;
- creates conditions that increase the likelihood of identifying any harm; and
- responds to any concerns, disclosures, allegations or suspicions of harm.
This is why the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments are moving to make implementation of the National Principles a condition of receiving funding from them as it demonstrates your commitment to child safety and wellbeing. Families and communities are also increasingly looking for evidence that the organisations they choose for their children provide safe environments where children’s rights, needs and interests are met.
This can seem like an overwhelming task, but here at Child Wise we have a team of experts to help you.
Child Wise is the only organisation that accredits against the National Principles to help you demonstrate compliance and achieve recognition as a child safe organisation.
Our accreditation program is designed to embed an organisational mindset that keeps children safe from harm now and into the future.
Contact us to speak to one of our advisors to learn more.