Megan Mitchell launches free online modules to boost child safety knowledge
A series of free, online training modules to help organisations increase their knowledge and understanding of child safety was released yesterday by Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner at a national forum in Sydney.
The national forum, hosted by Ms Mitchell, brought together a range of high-profile leaders of organisations involved in the provision of services and supports to children – from sporting networks, to youth groups, education, health, child and family services, and international aid agencies, offering an opportunity for leaders to exchange information about efforts within their own sectors and organisations to foster and embed the cultural and practice change needed to keep children safe and well.
The modules support the training required to implement the ten National Child Safe Principles which were endorsed by COAG in February 2019, based on the child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“The principles, which were developed by the Commission in partnership with the Australian Government, go beyond sexual abuse to cover all forms of potential harms to children and apply to all organisations working for and with children across Australia,” Ms Mitchell said.
Highlighting the particular focus the modules place on the importance of respecting children’s rights and the connection between child voice and child safety, Ms Mitchell said the underpinning principles also recognise the benefits that children derive from being involved in organisations of various kinds.
Alongside the modules, the Australian Human Rights Commission has also developed a range of practical tools and resources to help organisations implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
Speaking at the forum, former professional soccer player and human rights advocate Craig Foster said everyone needs to reflect on their role in creating an environment in which children feel able to voice their concerns.
“We let down so many children whose right to the fullest realisation of their potential was severely compromised. We need to ensure that we look after those in our care, provide safe and protective environments for our children to grow, prosper and excel. Whether within sport, or without,” Mr Foster said.
He went on to express his hope that “children of every age, background, religion, gender or sexual orientation have an equal, fair, safe and supportive environment in which to fulfil their true potential.”
Other leaders addressing the forum in relation to their organisation’s child safe journeys included Neville Tomkins from Scouts Australia NSW, Peter Downs from Play by the Rules, and Jocelyn Condon, from the Australian Council for International Development.
The 11 e-learning modules the Commission has developed to support organisations in implementing the National Principles, as well as a suite of free tools and resources, are all available at https://childsafe.humanrights.gov.au/