PROMOTING CHILD SAFE ORGANISATIONS

Children and young people will be better protected by legislation introduced to NSW Parliament today which implements important recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services said the Children’s Guardian Amendment (Child Safe Scheme) Bill 2021 would help make organisations safer for children and young people by strengthening oversight and practice.

“The Royal Commission exposed the most heinous and shocking abuse of vulnerable children. Our Government is committed to implementing its recommendations to keep kids safe,” Mr Ward said.

“These changes are all about improving how organisations protect children and young people from abuse and neglect, by placing their voices and interests at the heart of what they do.

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“The Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission speak for themselves – this Bill will implement a legislative Child Safe Scheme to create stronger, safer environments for children in line with what the Royal Commission recommended.”

The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) conducted extensive consultation with child-related organisations and other government and non-government stakeholders in developing the Child Safe Scheme.

The Standards provide a framework for organisations to create and maintain child safe cultures, operations and environments while offering the flexibility to apply them in ways that suit their size, resources and the nature of their involvement with children.

The Bill also gives the OCG additional powers to monitor, investigate and enforce implementation of the Child Safe Standards to ensure organisations are doing their utmost to prevent the abuse of children.

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The OCG will support all organisations with implementation of the Scheme, with capability building and support being the foundation of their approach.

The Bill builds on the NSW Government’s strong framework for protecting children and young people, following legislative changes in 2019 which gave the Children’s Guardian greater authority and oversight to protect children and young people.