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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

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 the Department of Human Services: Child Safe Environments 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.

Training is provided to support people taking on this role and is delivered as a 3 hour face to face session held at various locations around Adelaide and regional areas.

What does a Child Safe Officer do?

The training provided by Sport SA 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 Working with Children Checks
  • understand how and why child protection needs to be included in an organisation'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 an organisation’s Committee to develop procedures specific to their environment to assist with minimising risk to children, provide education to coaches, administrators and volunteers working with children and promote the organisation’s policies and procedures to all members.

Benefits of having a CSO in your organisation

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, 9770.88 KB

Mandatory Reporting Guide

Codes of conduct for junior sport template DOCX, 83.17 KB

New 10 National Child Safe Principles - Play by the Rules

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

People working or volunteering with children in South Australia must, by law, have a Working with Children Check.

A Working with Children Check is an assessment of whether a person poses an unacceptable risk to children. As part of the process, the Screening Unit will look at criminal history, child protection information and other information.

The above Information has been provided with permission from the Department of Human Services website.

Full details, including applications for a WWCC, are available at screening.sa.gov.au/wwcc or call the DHS Screening Unit on 1300 321 592 with any general enquiries.

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