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New program aims to increase safety of children in organisations

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Colin Pettit has launched today his Child Safe Organisations WA program, an initiative that aims to establish a state-wide focus on keeping children safe when they are in the care of government and community-based organisations.

Mr Pettit said that children and young people have the right to feel safe and respected wherever they are.

“While most staff in most organisations across WA do their best to safeguard children and support their healthy development, it takes a comprehensive and daily vigilant approach to effectively protect children from abuse and neglect,” Mr Pettit said.

“In a child safe organisation, this commitment to protecting children is embedded in the organisation’s culture and responsibility for taking action is understood and accepted at all levels of the organisation, from the CEO to volunteers.

“Our Child Safe Organisations WA program includes workshops and a range of resources designed to help government departments, not-for-profit agencies and community organisations develop and implement strategies that increase children’s safety.”

“An organisation’s child safe strategies must aim to reduce the likelihood of harm occurring, increase the likelihood that any harm is discovered and ensure there is an immediate and appropriate response to any disclosures, allegations or suspicions of harm.”

Mr Pettit said his staff were working with government departments and peak bodies to roll the program out and had commenced workshops in metropolitan and regional locations.

Child Safe Organisations WA resources are available on the Commissioner’s website enabling any organisation to commence work on strengthening their child safety strategies and daily practices immediately.

“This is not about removing fun from children’s lives – organisations can and should be vigilant about child safety while maintaining dynamic physical environments and positive interactions with adults that support children’s healthy development,” Mr Pettit said.

Child Safe Organisations WA was developed from information from a variety of sources, including a consultation the Commissioner held with children and young people in 2015, a multi-agency expert reference group, the current Royal Commission and the 2012 St Andrew's Hostel Inquiry.

The initial schedule of workshops in Perth, Albany and Broome has booked out, with more to be announced in the second half of 2016.


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