Child Safety is Everybody’s Responsibility
As parents of children in Catholic schools, when you enrol your child, you should feel confident that their safety is a priority while at school and in the care of all members of the learning community. The care, safety and wellbeing of children is an essential and shared responsibility of everyone who attends, works or is involved in Catholic schools.
For a longer version of this video, and to view more video resources, go to the CECV YouTube channel.
For some additional information, watch the video: Why we focus on Child Safety
The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) is committed to providing a safe and nurturing culture for all children and young people across all Victorian Catholic Schools.
At the heart of this commitment is Christ’s message of love, hope, justice and the innate dignity of each person.
School communities understand there are many areas of safety to consider when children are in their care. All schools have a duty of care to ensure children are learning, not only in a safe physical environment, but within a community that consists of a whole school culture of child safety, where respect, understanding and compassion for others is an integral part of all that we do.
To genuinely work in partnership with you throughout your child’s education, it is important that you are informed and aware of the improvement and the ongoing strengthening of child safe practices being implemented by the Victorian Government across all schools in Victoria.
Victorian Child Safe Standards
On 26 November 2015, the Victorian Parliament passed the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Bill 2015 (Vic.) to introduce the Victorian Child Safe Standards into law. Seven Child Safe Standards and Ministerial Order No. 870 came into effect for Victorian schools on 1 August 2016.
In July 2021, the Victorian Government announced new Child Safe Standards to further strengthen child safe environments and protect children from abuse. 11 new Child Safe Standards and Ministerial Order No. 1359 came into effect for schools and school boarding premises on Friday 1 July 2022. They replace Victoria’s seven previous Child Safe Standards and principles (Ministerial Order No. 870) in place since 2016.
The new Child Safe Standards are underpinned by Ministerial Order No. 1359 which was gazetted by the Victorian Government on 10 February 2022. Ministerial Order No. 1359 defines the actions schools and school boarding premises must take to meet the requirements of the new Child Safe Standards.
The new Victorian Child Safe Standards are:
- Culturally safe environments – 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.
- Leadership, governance and culture – Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
- Child and student empowerment – Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
- Family engagement – Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
- Diversity and equity – Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
- Suitable staff and volunteers – People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
- Complaints processes – Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.
- Child safety knowledge, skills and awareness – Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
- Child safety in physical and online environments – Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
- Review of child safety practices – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.
- Implementation of child safety practices – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.
Further information regarding Child Safety can be found here.
Catholic schools have long been committed to providing safe learning environments for all children whilst in their care and remain committed to the continuous improvement and review of policies and procedures for ensuring the safety of children.