How Australia is Becoming Child Safe

March 11, 2021

The Australian National Principles 

It’s important for us here at Mind Of My Own to keep abreast of global developments in child welfare. We are always looking for examples of best practice and we love facilitating conversations between different organisations to further this. One major initiative in Australia is the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. While these were first proposed in 2019, we think it’s worth discussing them as a strong step in the right direction to making children safer in Australia.

Institutional abuse 

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse uncovered horrendous abuse of children within institutions in Australia. As part of the recommendations laid out by the Royal Commission, 10 National Principles for Child Safe Organisations were established. These have been endorsed by all Commonwealth, state and territory governments across Australia and are benchmarks for ensuring that all institutions work in the best interests of children.

The 10 Principles

We have shared the 10 Principles below and you can also download them here:

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

Better care and support

While these principles are not mandatory, they clearly articulate concepts that we know are key to child safety. We are particularly excited by Principle 2: ‘Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously’. We’ve seen so many times that it’s all too easy to make decisions on behalf of a child when their views are difficult to hear and record. It’s why we exist as an organisation – better care and support happens when children are better listened to.

Progress made

This is clearly not the last step in Australia’s journey with child safety – any voluntary framework like this is only as strong as the number of organisations that sign up to it. However, it’s a great start with nationwide buy in from different levels of government and a clear acknowledgement that something has to change. We are delighted to see the progress made by many of our partner organisations in Australia and how it so firmly aligns with what we believe in.

If you would like to discuss how Mind Of My Own’s apps can help you fulfil your obligations under the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, you can reach us at hello@mindofmyown.org.uk