Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
The Child Safe Standards have always required organisations to recognise and respond to diversity and
understand that some children are more vulnerable to abuse than others. To date this has been expressed
through three principles relating to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, culturally and/or linguistically diverse children and the safety of children with disability.
These obligations continue, but the new Child Safe Standard 5 makes some additional obligations explicit, requiring organisations to:
- understand children and young people’s diverse backgrounds, circumstances and needs
- make any necessary adjustments and provide equal protection to all children and young people
- consider the needs of children and young people who are unable to live at home as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young
Given the new Standard’s focus on understanding children’s diverse circumstances, organisations will also need to give attention to the needs of non-binary and gender diverse children.
This Standard links to new Standard 1, which requires organisations to establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.
- Materials for children, including information about complaints processes and supports, are accessible, age-appropriate and available in a range of languages and formats as needed. Written documents alone are not relied on, particularly for children who are blind or vision impaired, or children who cannot read. (5.2)
- The Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy describes:
- the organisation’s commitment to equity and inclusion (5.1)
- how the organisation will recognise and respect the diverse needs of all children (5.1)
- how the organisation provides avenues for children or their families to identify their individual needs (5.1)
- how the organisation will provide children with access to information, support and complaints processes in ways that are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand (5.2)
- how the organisation will support equity and make reasonable changes to support participation by all children and respond to all children’s needs (5.1, 5.3, 5.4)
- how the organisation upholds equity for all children and prevents child abuse and harm resulting from discrimination based on disability, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, intersex status, gender identity or sexual orientation. (5.1, 5.3, 5.4)
- The organisation takes steps to understand the diverse circumstances and needs of children who engage, or may engage, with it. (5.1, 5.3)
- Staff and volunteers:
- are provided with information and guidance about children’s diverse circumstances, how to identify factors that can increase a child’s vulnerability to harm, and how to promote equity and safety for all children
- take action to support and respond to children who are experiencing vulnerability, including making inquiries and responding where there are signs of increased vulnerability
- take action to uphold equity for all children, promote children’s safety and prevent child abuse and harm. (5.1, 5.3, 5.4)
- Leaders set clear expectations around achieving equity and respect for diversity. (5.1 and links to 2.2)
- The organisation ensures all children are reasonably supported to participate. (5.1)
In complying with Child Safe Standard 5 an organisation must, at a minimum, ensure:
5.1 The organisation, including staff and volunteers, understands children and young people’s diverse circumstances, and provides support and responds to those who are vulnerable.
5.2 Children and young people have access to information, support and complaints processes in ways that are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand.
5.3 The organisation pays particular attention to the needs of children and young people with disability, children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those who are unable to live at home, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people.
5.4 The organisation pays particular attention to the needs of Aboriginal children and young people and provides/promotes a culturally safe environment for them.