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Create a child safe environment

A child safe organisation protects children from harm in an environment where children feel respected, valued and encouraged to reach their full potential.

This is embedded in an organisation’s policies and procedures and supported by all members.

A child safe and child friendly environment minimises the risk to children from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological harm and from neglect.

SA legislation requires that organisations that provide services for children create and maintain a child safe environment.

What does your organisation need to do?

  • Create and maintain an environment that is both child safe and child friendly
  • Meet the legal requirements of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 and the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016
  • Lodge a child safe environments compliance statement with the Department for Education

Note: State sporting and recreation organisations may have lodged a Statement on behalf of their affiliated clubs. If you are unsure of whether you are covered by your governing body Statement, contact them directly.

Under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 a compliance statement will need to be lodged whenever relevant policies and procedures are adopted, varied or substituted.

The Act also requires organisations to review their child safe environment policies and procedures at least once every 5 years. Further information can be found here.

Applying the Principles of Good Practice

The principles of good practice, which are issued under the Act, are a practical guide to establishing and maintaining a child safe environment.

Organisations/clubs must:

  • develop a risk management plan addressing the safety of children with respect to other people within the organisation
  • have a child safe policy or a member protection policy  which addresses the child safe obligations
  • have guidelines and procedures that support the policy
  • have codes of conduct for adults and children
  • understand and adhere to Working with Children Check obligations
  • adopt clear recruitment procedures for staff and volunteers e.g. referee checks, qualification checks if applicable
  • provide staff and volunteers with information or training around child safe environments, and provide support in their roles
  • encourage the participation of children in decision making (let them have a say or provide feedback)
  • ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of their mandated notification obligations

For more information view Department for Education’s Principles of Good Practice.

What is a Child Safe Officer?

The Child Safe Officer (CSO) is a person who can deliver advice and awareness within their organisation or club around developing a child safe environment

What does a Child Safe Officer do?

The training provided by ORSR assists the CSO to:

  • understand the importance for organisations to adopt appropriate screening processes for members working with young children and young people and the requirement for criminal history assessments
  • understand how and why child protection needs to be included in an organisation's /group's Member Protection Policy (MPP), or for a separate Child Protection Policy to be implemented if they do not have a MPP
  • understand the definitions and indicators of child at risk
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the legal responsibilities of staff and volunteers working with children.
  • have a broad knowledge of the Child Abuse Report Line processes and procedures.

The CSO may work with the club to develop procedures specific to that club to assist with minimising risk to children, provide education to coaches, administrators and club members, promote the policies and procedures and provide advice if required.

Child Safe Officer Training

This course is an evening 3 hour face to face training held at various locations around Adelaide and regional areas. Prior to attending this training you must complete the online training in Child Protection and Harassment and Discrimination on www.playbytherules.net.au

Upcoming child safe training


Resources and Links to help you

The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing is currently working on updating the resources on this page. To access unlinked documents and discuss the update timeframe please phone 1300 714 990.

Keeping Children Safe in Recreation and Sport booklet PDF, 8923.09 KB

Mandatory Reporting Guide

Codes of conduct for junior sport template DOCX, 83.17 KB

Managing allegations of child abuse PDF, 225.3 KB

Play by the Rules provides:

Online training in Child Protection and Harassment and Discrimination is recommended for all involved in delivering services and activities to children. Coaches and Team Managers in particular should complete this and be required to present the certificate to the club for recording.

Resources including coach guidelines, chaperone information, junior team selection policy template and more.

Working with Children Check

From 1 July 2019, South Australia’s child-related employment and volunteer screening will be replaced with a new Working With Children Check (WWCC), as legislated under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016. The introduction of the new legislation is being led by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

From 1 July 2019 all employees and volunteers working with children must have a valid child-related clearance.  This means:

  • A valid, current DCSI/DHS child-related employment screening conducted prior to 1 July.  These will be recognised until expiry.
  • A current National Police Certificate assessed by a responsible authority.  These will be recognised for 12 months, NPC holders must have a WWCC by 1 July 2020.
  • A WWCC issued from 1 July 2019.

Key features of the new law include:

  • Only the Department of Human Services (DHS) Screening Unit can conduct and issue a WWCC.
  • Individuals will be able to apply for a WWCC from 1 July 2019.
  • WWCC are valid for 5 years instead of the current three years.
  • A WWCC will be portable across jobs and organisations, anywhere in South Australia.

DHS has commenced a public promotion and education campaign. Members of sport and recreation organisations are encouraged to familiarise themselves with information available on the DHS website.

The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing is liaising closely with DHS Screening Unit to ensure concerns are addressed and information that clarifies the application of the new Act is circulated as it becomes available.

Queries should be directed to the DHS Screening Unit on 1300 321 592.