The introduction of the Mandatory Reporting and the Child Safe Standards is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust report on institutional responses to child abuse.
The Child Safe Standards are compulsory minimum standards for all Victorian early childhood services, schools and higher education organisations. The Standards drive an organisational culture and commitment to child safety and ensure staff are well prepared to protect children from abuse and neglect.
What this means for teachers and early childhood teachers
All teachers play a critical role in keeping children safe. Understanding how to respond effectively to children and young people whose safety and wellbeing may be at risk, or who are in need of protection, is essential.
The Child Safe Standards will assist teachers and early childhood professionals to understand, be prepared and act to protect children from all forms of abuse.
All staff working in schools and early childhood services are expected to inform themselves about the Child Safe Standards and associated early childhood or school policies and procedures. This will include their organisation's child safety code of conduct, statement of commitment to child safety, and policies and procedures for identifying and responding to all forms of abuse.
Resources and online training
The Department of Education and Training’s PROTECT portal provides valuable resources to help teachers and early childhood teachers understand the Child Safe Standards including information and guidance on identifying the signs of abuse and the best ways to respond to incidents.
There are also online eLearning modules available.
The online training modules are an important component of the Department’s child protection framework for child safety and protection. They provide information about the legal obligations and the processes for reporting. Guidance in the module refers generally to all children and young people, although some legal obligations apply to children in specific age groups.
The Department of Education and Training recommends that the appropriate eLearning module be completed each year by all registered teachers and early childhood professionals. Other members of staff working at schools and early childhood services are also strongly encouraged to undertake the online learning module. This might include nurses, Education Support staff, out of school-hours care staff and casual relief teachers.
For more information and resources about the e-Learning module, the Child Safe Standards and other resources and support materials visit PROTECT.