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Mirror mirror on the wall … who is most child safe of all?

27 October 2017 

A new pilot program to help organisations to more accurately reflect on and identify the ways their environments have become safer for children was announced today by Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer as part of 2017 Children’s Week.

Ms Schorer said the project was being developed as part of the extensive work in this area being implemented by the Office of the Children’s Guardian, including the recent release of the Principles for Child Safe Practice.

“This initiative aims to help organisations embed the principles into their work and to demonstrate how those changes have been better for children’s experiences in those places,” Ms Schorer said.

“By translating rhetoric into reality, individuals and organisations can create safer environments for the children and young people they are involved with.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse revealed numerous examples where organisations relied on passive policies and a ‘tick and flick’ approach to managing their environmental risks,” said Ms Schorer.

“We anticipate when the commission hands down its final report in December it will place a strong focus on organisations implementing broader and more effective strategies beyond a Working With Children Check.”

“There are 1.6 million children and young people in NSW and as they grow up every one of them will have contact with organisations providing services across education, health, welfare, sport and recreation.

“The community reasonably expects these organisations to be safe places for children and to have in place effective cultures and mechanisms that will work to protect them.

“We help organisations build on their capacity to be child safe by using our resources, engaging in child safe training and online eLearning and ensuring they comply with their legislative obligations.

“The feedback we receive from many people is they are very keen to help their organisations to be as child safe as possible and believe they are following a ‘best practise’ approach to their work.

“However they would like a more definitive way to demonstrate what they are doing, to know they are being effective and to be able to promote being ‘child safe’ to their clients and stakeholders.

“Our pilot program will help empower organisations to implement child safe practices that meet the needs of children but without unnecessary regulatory burdens.

“We believe this initiative is the important next step in the child safe process – for organisations to be able to define and highlight their results as part of their work.”

“As part of the new project we will also be searching for an organisation that we believe has been outstanding in its child safe approach.

“The organisation will have to be able to demonstrate real, measurable and positive changes within their culture and in the behaviours of its paid workers and volunteers.

“I look forward to announcing the results of our new project during Children’s Week next year.”