Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
The current Child Safe Standards already require organisations to be mindful of the risks associated with both physical and online environments and to adopt measures to remove risks of child abuse.
The new Child Safe Standard 9 contains specific obligations for organisations to:
- consider online environments in addition to physical environments
- identify and mitigate risks in these environments without compromising a child or young person’s right to privacy, access to information, social connections and learning opportunities
- promote child safety and wellbeing as well as minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed
- have procurement policies that ensure the safety of children and young people if the organisation contracts facilities and services from third parties.
- A risk assessment identifies risks of child abuse and harm in both physical and online environments connected with the organisation. (9.1, 9.3)
- Risk management plans list the actions the organisation will take to prevent or reduce each identified risk of child abuse and harm. (9.3)
- The Code of Conduct and Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy identifies how the organisation will keep children safe in physical and online environments, with specific reference to higher-risk activities. (9.2, 9.3)
- Procurement policies about engaging third-party contractors set out processes to protect children from risks of child abuse and harm, such as requiring compliance with the organisation’s Code of Conduct and Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy. (9.4)
- Risk assessment and management plans are informed by and responsive to the views and concerns of staff, volunteers and children. Plans show that the organisation has balanced the need to manage the risk of harm and abuse against children’s rights to privacy, access to information, social connections and learning opportunities. (9.1, 9.3)
- Staff and volunteers are provided with risk management plans so they are aware of risks of child abuse and harm and know what action they need to take to prevent and reduce them. (9.1)
- Action is taken by staff and volunteers in the organisation to prevent and reduce risks of child abuse and harm when identified. (9.1)
- Risk assessments and management plans are regularly reviewed to keep them up-to-date and include lessons from complaints, concerns and safety incidents. (9.1, 9.2)
- The organisation’s leadership and governance arrangements ensure risk assessment and management are focused on identifying, preventing and reducing risks of child abuse and harm. (links to 2.5)
- When negotiating contracts with third parties, contracts include terms that allow the organisation to take action if the third party does not meet expected child safety and wellbeing standards. (9.4)
- When third-party contractors are engaged, action is taken by the organisation to assess whether, and the extent to which, the engagement of third-party contractors poses risks of child abuse and harm. (9.4)
- Depending on the level of risk posed by third-party contractors, the organisation should take actions to prevent or reduce risks of child abuse or harm. Appropriate actions may include:
- requiring third-party contractors to comply with the organisation’s policies and procedures
- monitoring compliance by third-party contractors with the Child Safe Standards and/or the organisation’s policies and procedures
- working with third-party contractors to identify, prevent and reduce risks of child abuse and harm
- where an organisation is unable to adequately manage risks of child abuse and harm posed by third-party contractors, consider terminating the contract or take other appropriate action to protect children. (9.4)
- If appropriate, staff, volunteers, parents, carers and children are provided with information about online safety and risks in the online environment, such as online grooming, cyber bullying and sexting. Support is given to reporting negative experiences or concerns. (9.2)
In complying with Child Safe Standard 9 an organisation must, at a minimum, ensure:
9.1 Staff and volunteers identify and mitigate risks in the online and physical environments without compromising a child’s right to privacy, access to information, social connections and learning opportunities.
9.2 The online environment is used in accordance with the organisation’s Code of Conduct and Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy and practices.
9.3 Risk management plans consider risks posed by organisational setting, activities and the physical environment.
9.4 Organisations that contract facilities and services from third parties have procurement policies that ensure the safety of children and young people.