In December 2017, the final report of the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse was handed down. As a result, the National Office of Child Safety (NOCS) was established in July 2018 to lead the development and implementation of several national priorities recommended by the Royal Commission. These include the National principles for Child Safe Organisations. Annual reports are also requested from non-government institutions. At the end of 2021, LEA was asked to report to NOCS on the implementation of the Child Safe principles in Lutheran schools. Gathering information for the report has shown how seriously our schools and ECSs take child safety, as we would expect. It has also allowed us to reflect on the importance of all that we do to keep children safe while they are being educated in our care. Child safety is more than ensuring that all staff and volunteers have the appropriate working with children checks and undergo regular updates to training; it also about putting into practice all we would expect in a child safe organisation. What we do in schools to demonstrate that our policies, procedures and public statements are robust and effective in supporting child safety is as important as what we say.
Further information about the National Principles and other resources that may help schools and ECSs, including a self-audit, can be found here: https://childsafety.pmc.gov.au/what-we-do/national-principles-child-safe-organisations
Our report on child safety is almost complete, however, if you implemented something new in support of child safety in your school or ECS during 2021 that you would like to share, please contact me Dianne.firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your story. Our report is a response to the National Principles. While Victoria has implemented its own Child Safe Standards, they align well with the National Principles and therefore to our report. More information will be shared with principals during 2022 so that we are able to work collaboratively in caring for children in Lutheran education.