AFL Victoria has sent guidelines to assist clubs with taking any necessary steps to ensure compliance.
The Child Safe Standards have been introduced by Victorian State Government as a compulsory, minimum standard of safety in all organisations providing services to children. The Standards aim to drive cultural change in organisations, so that protecting children from abuse is embedded in everyday thinking and practice. Each of the Standards must also be understood and applied with the context of the following in mind:
The cultural safety of Aboriginal children
The cultural safety of children from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse background
The safety of children with a disability
The seven standards are:
Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements.
Standard 2: A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety.
Standard 3: A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children.
Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel.
Standard 5: Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse.
Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse.
Standard 7: Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.
Further information on the Child Safe Standards can be found on the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) website.
In implementing changes to meet their Child Safety responsibilities, AFL Victoria recommends clubs take 5 steps the first instance:
1. Establish a register of all club members Working With Children Certificate (WWCC) details. (The club has started this process however there are gaps in our records. Club volunteers in positions where they are working directly with children will be asked by the club to provide these details, or provide an update if their certificate is due for renewal)
2. Appoint a Child Safety Officer. This role has formal reporting, monitoring and pastoral care duties. Children in the club will be made aware of what the person is there for i.e. someone to speak to if a child is feeling unsafe. Advice about this role will be advised by the club in the coming weeks and prior to the 2017 season commencing.
3. Communicate reporting procedures to club members/parents/guardians.
4. Comply with AFL social media policies.
5. Ensure recruitment processes include a strong focus on Child Safety Standards including reference checks, mandatory WWCC and probation period.