Education sector leads the way for Reportable Conduct Scheme
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > Education sector leads the way for Reportable Conduct Scheme

Education sector leads the way for Reportable Conduct Scheme

by Freya Lucas

November 22, 2023

Notifications of alleged child abuse and child-related misconduct by workers and volunteers in organisations under the Reportable Conduct Scheme, including early childhood education and care (ECEC) have climbed again this year, while the Child Safe Standards have been strengthened to boost prevention.


Reportable conduct against a child includes sexual offences, sexual misconduct, physical violence, any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm, or significant neglect.


These, and other findings, were highlighted in the annual report of the Commission for Children and Young People tabled in the Parliament of Victoria earlier this month.


The Commission’s work on the Reportable Conduct Scheme was this year complemented by new Child Safe Standards and enforcement powers to strengthen the child-safe culture of organisations working with children in Victoria.


The eleven new Child Safe Standards came into force on 1 July 2022, including a new Child Safe Standard 1 to support the cultural safety of Aboriginal children and young people.


In 2022–23, 1,457 notifications were received by the Commission across all sectors, an 18 per cent increase on 2021–22, and an 81 per cent increase since the scheme began in Victoria in 2017. Each notification can include multiple allegations of reportable conduct.


The education sector made 30 per cent of the notifications to the scheme (437 notifications), followed by out-of-home care with 408 notifications (28 per cent), ECEC with 385 notifications (26 per cent), and religious bodies at 68 (five per cent).


Physical violence was the most common allegation type at 1,190 (36 per cent), followed by behaviour that causes significant emotional or physical harm to a child at 726 (22 per cent), significant neglect of a child at 606 (18 per cent), and sexual misconduct at 589 (18 per cent). 


The highest proportion of allegations from the education sector in 2022–23 related to sexual misconduct, while the highest proportion of allegations from religious organisations related to sexual offences.


“The Commission’s figures are a wake-up call that abuse in multiple forms is still happening, and will continue to profoundly harm the lives of children and young people unless it is prevented and addressed” said Liana Buchanan, Victoria’s Commissioner for Children and Young People.


At 10 per cent, Aboriginal children and young people continued to be over-represented among alleged victims of reportable conduct, when they comprise only two per cent of the Victorian population under 18 years of age.


“The data in our annual report show it is critical that all children be given a voice to raise safety concerns, and that organisations need to take allegations seriously. Children and young people can find it hard to speak up when they don’t feel safe, so we need to listen to them when they do,” added Meena Singh, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.


“It is vital that Aboriginal children and young people feel safe and supported in organisations and that their culture, which is fundamental to their identity and from which they draw so much strength and resilience, is respected and valued. The new standards support this for all children whose cultural identity is central to their wellbeing.”


For further information on the new Child Safe Standards and increased powers, see page 90 of the annual report.

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