The National Office For Child Safety
The National Office for Child Safety (the National Office) provides national leadership, working across governments and sectors, to deliver national policies and strategies to enhance children’s safety and reduce future harm to children.
Our priorities are:
- Collaborating with governments, sectors and the community to raise awareness and drive cultural change in institutions and the community to support child safety and wellbeing.
- Improving collaboration between jurisdictions and institutions to support design, development and implementation of national strategies and prevention initiatives.
- Promoting the participation and empowerment of children and young people in the design, development and evaluation of child safe initiatives.
- Leading capacity building and continuous improvement of child safe initiatives through resource development, best practice material, evaluation and reporting.
The Australian Government understands that the work of the Royal Commission and the information on this website may bring up strong feelings and questions for many people. There are many services and support groups available to assist you. Some options for support and advice are provided below.
Information about the National Redress Scheme is available on the National Redress Scheme website or by calling the National Redress Information Line on 1800 737 377.
24-hour telephone assistance is available through:
- Lifeline - 13 11 14
- 1800 Respect - 1800 737 732
- MensLine Australia - 1300 789 978
A further list of national support services and groups and those specific to each state and territory is available.
For all enquiries, please contact the National Office for Child Safety.
The National Office for Child Safety was established on 1 July 2018 within the Department of Social Services. On 24 January 2019, the National Office moved to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The National Office leads the development and implementation of national priorities recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission), including the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, a National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and improvements to information to improve child safety. Key institutions which appeared before the Royal Commission also report annually to us in December on their progress in implementing Royal Commission recommendations.
The National Office’s role builds upon existing initiatives such as the National Redress Scheme and the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020. The establishment of the National Office does not change the statutory responsibilities of state and territory governments with regard to child protection or law enforcement.
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (National Principles) give effect to recommendations of the Royal Commission relating to the child safe standards and provide guidance on key actions and performance measures in implementing the standards. They provide a nationally consistent approach to cultivating organisational cultures and practices that foster child safety and wellbeing across all sectors in Australia.
The National Principles were endorsed by members of the Council of Australian Governments, the Prime Minister and state and territory First Ministers, in February 2019.
The National Office is leading national coordination and implementation of the National Principles, working with, states and territory governments, and non-government sectors to make organisations across Australia safe for children.
All governments are responsible for implementing the National Principles and determining compliance arrangements in their respective jurisdictions. The National Office continues to work with all governments and the non-government sector to promote and support the implementation of the National Principles and a nationally consistent approach to child safe organisations.
The National Office is working with a number of organisations to coordinate the development of a range of national resources and practical tools to inform organisations, children and parents and carers about the National Principles and support implementation across all sectors. This includes developing resources in collaboration with state and territory governments.
The National Principles
The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and a National Principles for Child Safe Organisations poster are available for download.
Child Safe Organisations Resources
The following resources have been developed by the Office of the National Children’s Commissioner and can be accessed on the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Child Safe Organisations website:
- Introductory Self-Assessment Tool for Organisations
- Guide for Parents and Carers
- Example Code of Conduct
- Charter of Commitment
- Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy template
- Checklist for Online Safety (developed in partnership with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner).
Additional free online training modules on each of the Principles will be available in the coming months.
Complaint Handling Guide
Guidance for organisations engaging with children on how to deatl with complaints made by, or on behalf of, chidlren will shortly be available. The Complaint Handling Guide: Upholding the rights of children and young people, is being developed by the Office of the NSW Ombudsman through a national consultation process and will be available in the coming months. The Guide will support organisations, and their staff and volunteers, to understand and implement effective child focused complaint handling systems in their sectors and communities.
The National Principles, Guide for Parents and Carers and Introductory Self-Assessment Tool for Organisations are available in 10 additional languages.
Child Safe Sectors Leadership Group
To inform the National Office’s approach to national initiatives, including the implementation of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and development of a National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, a Child Safe Sectors Leadership Group has been established.
The role of the Child Safe Sectors Leadership Group is to promote and disseminate information about child safety requirements and practices throughout sectors working with children and young people with a view to achieving a nationally consistent and evidence based approach to child safety across Australia.
Membership consists of peak bodies in sectors working with children and young people. Once finalised, a full membership list will be published on this page.
Commonwealth Child Safe Framework
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) examined what makes an organisation child safe. The Royal Commission highlighted the need to provide an environment in which children and young people are safe, protected and respected, and where staff have the skills, confidence and knowledge to safeguard children.
In response, the Australian Government has introduced the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework (the Framework), a whole-of-government policy that sets minimum standards for creating and embedding a child safe culture and practice in Commonwealth entities.
Requirements of the Framework
The Framework comprises three core requirements. Together, these set out the minimum standards for Commonwealth entities to protect children.
The Framework applies to all non-corporate Commonwealth entities. It is recommended for application to corporate Commonwealth entities and wholly owned Commonwealth companies. Accountable Authorities of Commonwealth entities are responsible for the implementation of the Framework within their entity.
Under the Framework, Commonwealth entities are required to:
Core requirements under the Framework for Commonwealth entities
|Requirement 1||Requirement 2||Requirement 3|
|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.||Establish and maintain a system of training and compliance, to make staff aware of, and compliant with, the Framework and relevant legislation, including Working with Children Checks and mandatory reporting requirements.||Adopt and implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations within 12 months of the Council of Australian Governments endorsement (COAG approved the National Principles on 1 February 2019).|
Entities should develop their own internal child safe policies, consistent with the requirements above, taking into account agency specific risks (identified in their annual risk assessments). It is recommended that the Accountable Authority assure themselves on an annual basis, that the requirements of the Framework are being met within their agency.
Application to Commonwealth funded third parties
To increase the reach of the Commonwealth’s commitment to child safety, Commonwealth entities should put in place measures to promote the protection of children in services and activities they fund.
It is recommended that where appropriate entities impose, through written agreements, child safety requirements, consistent with the Framework, on any individuals or organisations they fund to provide services directly to children, or for activities that involve contact with children that is a usual part of, and more than incidental to the funded activity. This includes but is not limited to funding arrangements such as grants and procurements.
Child safety clauses have been drafted for use in the Commonwealth Simple and Standard Grant Agreement templates, through optional Supplementary Conditions. Clauses are also available for use in the Commonwealth ClauseBank for procurement.
The National Office has developed a range of guidance material to support Commonwealth entities to implement the Framework. These materials are:
|What is the CCSF?||An overview of the scope and purpose of the Framework.||PDF / Word|
|What might implementation look like?||Practical guidance on what actions agencies might need to take to implement the Framework.||PDF / Word|
|Frequently Asked Questions||This document answers questions about imposing child safety requirements on individuals or organisations that are funded by the Commonwealth to deliver activities that involve children.||PDF / Word|
|Implementation Self-Assessment||This checklist is an indicator of progress towards implementation of the Framework or assessing current practices for child safety.||PDF / Word|
National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
The National Office is overseeing the design and implementation of a National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (the National Strategy).
The National Strategy will be developed in consideration of the Royal Commission’s recommendations and will encompass a range of initiatives with a particular focus on cultural change, including through education and awareness‑raising, and measures which provide victims of child sexual abuse with access to the right supports at the right time. It will also include specific consideration of the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with disability, and regional and remote communities.
The National Office has concluded initial co-design consultations with non-government stakeholders to understand their priorities for a National Strategy. Stakeholders included: survivors of child sexual abuse and their support organisations, academics, clinical practitioners, child safety experts, non-government organisations and institutions. A report summarising the key themes from the co-design consultations will be made available later in 2019.
As part of its work to develop the National Strategy, the National Office is mapping existing and proposed initiatives, policies and services, which prevent, mitigate and respond to child sexual abuse across Australia.
The Royal Commission recommended that non-government institutions and peak bodies involved in child-related work report on their progress implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations within 12 months of its Final Report.
In its recommendation, the Royal Commission identified ten institutions, which, at a minimum, should report. The National Office worked with those ten institutions to facilitate their annual progress reporting for 2018, and these reports are available on the Child Abuse Royal Commission Response website.
The Royal Commission also recommended that other major institutions or peak bodies that are involved in child‑related work should consider reporting annually.
Arrangements for the next Annual Report are still being considered.