Safe Havens

Strengthening the protection of children in our schools

All institutions have a responsibility to protect children 

Child Safe Standards identified by the Royal Commission

…. we recommend that the onus of proof be reversed for claims in negligence against any institution relating to child sexual abuse committed by the institution’s members or employees so that the institution bears the onus to prove that it exercised reasonable care to prevent abuse.


The recommendations are also intended to prevent child sexual abuse in an institutional
context by encouraging leaders of institutions to facilitate a child safe environment, at risk of
the institution being liable for the abuse if they do not. An aspect of facilitating a child safe environment would be through implementing the Child Safe Standards in institutions. Institutions that take steps to prevent abuse would reduce their potential liability. The more effective those steps are at preventing abuse, the more the institution’s potential liability would be reduced.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Making institutions child safe – FINAL REPORT Page 140

All institutions have a responsibility to protect children from potential sexual abuse by preventing, identifying and mitigating risks and responding appropriately when abuse occurs.

 Final Report – Volume 6 Making institutions child safe Page 147

Governance encompasses the systems, structures and policies that control the way an institution operates, and the mechanism by which the institution, and its people, can be held to account. Governance strongly influences an institution’s practices and decision-making processes. It is embedded in the good behaviour and the good judgment of those responsible for running an institution.

An institution’s governance can be shaped by a variety of factors, including its constitution and policies, government regulation and oversight, and community expectations.47 In government- run institutions, external oversight can be particularly important in facilitating good governance and internal decision-making. Boards of directors are also an important part of many institutions’ governance structures. As leaders, board members play a pivotal role in influencing governance frameworks and setting an institution’s culture by determining and maintaining its vision, purpose and values.


The 10 standards that would make institutions safer for children 


Child safety is embedded in institutional leadership, governance and culture.


Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.


Families and communities are informed and involved.


Equitty is upheld and diverse needs are taken into account

People supported

People working with children are suitable and supported

Child focused processes

Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focused

Education & training

Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safethrough continual education and training

Physical and online

Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur

Continuous review

Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved

Policies & procedures

Policies and procedures document how the institution is child safe.

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