Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.
The new Child Safe Standard 1 requires organisations to take new steps to create a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal children and young people. Organisations must meet this requirement regardless of whether or not they know that there are Aboriginal children and young people currently using their services or facilities.
This new Child Safe Standard 1 means that most organisations will need to improve their current approach to creating a safe environment for Aboriginal children and young people and their families. Implementing this Standard will require ongoing effort, not just a once-off change.
This Standard links to new Standard 5 which requires that equity is upheld and diverse needs are respected in organisations.
This Standard places new obligations on organisations to ensure cultural safety for Aboriginal children.
Establishing a culturally safe environment takes time, dedication and meaningful engagement. Organisations need to commit long term and take meaningful action each year to keep progressing their compliance with Standard 1.
The Commission understands that organisations will be at different stages in achieving compliance with this new Standard. Foundation steps are provided to help organisations who are yet to make a significant effort to establish a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal children. These foundation steps help organisations identify the work they must do to comply with the Standard and build a plan of action.
If your organisation feels it is already well progressed in establishing a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal children, then focusing on the foundation steps may not be necessary. Further steps are provided so your organisation can build on the work already done to continue the journey towards becoming a culturally safe organisation.
The Commission will first look for compliance with the foundation steps. The foundation steps outline the changes required to policies, procedures and public commitments, but recognise that change in organisations takes time. The plan of action should outline the organisation’s path to reaching full compliance with the Standard. Further steps help organisations understand what full compliance with this Standard may look like.
foundation steps - documents
- A public commitment to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children is available and displayed for public access. (1.1, 1.4, 1.5 and links to 5.4)
- Policies and procedures relating to child safety and wellbeing, including the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy, describe the organisation’s commitment to respecting and valuing Aboriginal children. This includes that:
- staff and volunteers must encourage and support children to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights
- staff and volunteers must actively support and facilitate participation and inclusion within the organisation by Aboriginal children and their families
- racism will not be tolerated within the organisation and how the organisation will respond, including potential consequences
- the organisation’s leadership has a responsibility to help everyone involved with the organisation to acknowledge and appreciate the strengths of Aboriginal culture and understand its importance to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children. (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5). See the definition for who makes up the organisation’s community in A guide for creating a Child Safe Organisation.
- The Code of Conduct and position descriptions outline expectations of staff and volunteer behaviour including:
- zero tolerance of racism and expectations that staff and volunteers will act on incidents of racism
- that children will be supported to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights. (1.1, 1.3)
- A plan of action sets out the steps the organisation will take by 1 July 2023 to establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children are respected and valued. (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5)
foundation steps - actions
- Instances of racism are consistently identified and addressed. (1.3)
- The organisation identifies steps already taken to:
- support, guide or train staff and volunteers and leaders to understand, respect and value Aboriginal culture and to understand the importance of this to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children (1.2 and links to 8.4)
- actively support and facilitate participation and inclusion of Aboriginal children and their families (1.4)
- recognise and celebrate Aboriginal peoples, their achievements, communities and cultures (1.2)
- ensure racism within the organisation is identified and appropriately addressed (1.3)
- create a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal children within the organisation. (1.5 and links to 5.4)
- Identify actions the organisation needs to take to fully implement Standard 1, considering steps already taken and any gaps identified. A plan of action should identify the person or team responsible for taking action, the resources available and the timeframe. (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5)
In complying with Child Safe Standard 1 an organisation must, at a minimum, ensure:
1.1 A child’s ability to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights is encouraged and actively supported.
1.2 Strategies are embedded within the organisation which equip all members to acknowledge and appreciate the strengths of Aboriginal culture and understand its importance to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children and young people.
1.3 Measures are adopted by the organisation to ensure racism within the organisation is identified, confronted and not tolerated. Any instances of racism are addressed with appropriate consequences.
1.4 The organisation actively supports and facilitates participation and inclusion within it by Aboriginal children, young people and their families.
1.5 All of the organisation’s policies, procedures, systems and processes together create a culturally safe and inclusive environment and meet the needs of Aboriginal children, young people and their families.