Commissioner for Children

Commissioner for Children

Strengthening Child Safe Organisations in Tasmania Report

Background 

The current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has brought the matter of keeping our children safe in organisational settings into sharp focus. Tasmania has recently introduced mandatory Registration to Work with Children (or ‘Working with Children Checks’) for many people who work with, or provide services to, children. This in turn has prompted many organisations to think about how they can improve upon their efforts to promote children’s safety and well-being while in their care.

What were our aims?

Because this is an issue primarily about children we felt the most important thing was to hear what children have to say. We also wanted to raise awareness of the importance of adopting child safe policies and procedures and provide some support and guidance to those wishing to provide a safer organisational environment for children in Tasmania.

Our consultations with children  

Over 400 Tasmanian children and young people were involved in our consultation process. Children took part in group discussions, individual interviews and completed written questionnaires.  We were impressed by the insight shown by children – by far our best learning over the course of this project came from listening to children’s views and experiences of safety in the varied organisational settings (school, sports groups etc) they spend time in.

Involvement of Tasmanian Organisations

We also held forums in Launceston and Hobart for members of organisations who work with, or provide services to children and young people in Tasmania. Participants discussed their views about what makes organisations child safe and identified areas in which some organisations may require guidance and support.

What the report does not do

This report is NOT designed to present a framework or specific recommendations for Tasmanian organisations. Organisations have unique needs and risks to children’s safety; while there are overarching child safe principles that apply to all organisations, it will ultimately be a matter for each organisation to determine how these principles should be implemented.

What the report does do

  • Summarise and discuss what we heard from Tasmanian children and young people.
  • Discuss what we heard from Tasmanian organisations.
  • Discuss the role of the new Registration to Work with Children (or Working with Children Check) processes.
  • Examine current research and literature about child safe organisations.
  • Highlight general areas that organisations need to think about and address in order to become child safe.

Findings 

Our key findings included the following:

  • Children and young people want adults to listen to them more.
  • Children still believe that the greatest risk to their safety comes from strangers and require more education about abuse in the context of organisations.
  • Many children are not well prepared, empowered or educated to adequately report abuse.
  • Many children identified shame, fear and a sense of self responsibility as reasons they would not disclose abuse.
  • To support children in disclosing abuse we need to be more direct and open when speaking about abuse with children.
  • While most Tasmanian organisations are committed to being child safe organisations, many feel the need for further support and guidance in this area.
  • Organisational culture is a key factor in ensuring an organisation is child safe. Without a culture that values, informs and empowers children and openly prioritises child safety, policy cannot be effective.

Summary

There are many aspects to becoming a child safe organisation. This report explores some of these with a particular emphasis on learning from children and incorporating their voice into our child safe strategies. The Commissioner hopes those who read this report are inspired by children’s wisdom and will find new motivation to listen to and include children in their journey to becoming more child safe.

Next Steps

The Commissioner will be providing Recommendations for future action to Government. Those Recommendations will be informed by the work of the Royal Commission and will take account of its forthcoming report on child safe organisations which is expected to be released soon.

Strengthening Child Safe Organisations Summary Report for Young People

Strengthening Child Safe Organisations Full Report

Information for Parents: What to look for when choosing a child safe organisation

Video: Child Safe Organisations. Start the conversation. Listen and act.

get in touch

Level 1, 119 Macquarie St.
Hobart, TAS 7000
GPO Box 708

Telephone: (03) 6166 1366
Fax: (03) 6173 0266
childcomm@childcomm.tas.gov.au

media inquiries


Mobile: 0427 008 268

Concerned about the current safety of a child or young person?

Contact Child Protection Services on 1300 737 639, or use their online form:

Child Protection Notification Form