Local government’s child safety obligations

The Federal Government has reminded local councils of their obligations to ensure safe environments for children following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Councils are urged to remind themselves of their responsibilities in Recommendation 6.12 of the Royal Commission’s report which involves designating child safety officers within councils who will carry out the following:

a: developing child safe messages in local government venues, grounds and facilities
b. assisting local institutions to access online child safe resources
c. providing child safety information and support to local institutions on a needs basis; and
d. supporting local institutions to work collaboratively with key services to ensure child safe approaches are culturally safe, disability aware, and appropriate for children from
diverse backgrounds.

Furthermore, councils are also advised they must adhere to the requirements of the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework and National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

The framework was created to protect children and young people who have contact with Commonwealth entities.

Its three main requirements include the obligation to: undertake risk assessments annually in relation to activities of each entity, to identify the level of responsibility for, and contact with, children and young people, evaluate the risk of harm or abuse, and put in place appropriate strategies to manage identified risks.