Child Safe Standards
Reporting at the University of Melbourne
The Safer Community Program is here to help you. If you hold concerns about a child’s safety (anyone under the age of 18 years), we are here to provide support and information to assist you. Staff, students, visitors, volunteers and parents associated with the University of Melbourne community, must report a child safety concern by contacting:
Or get help now with our list of important telephone numbers and services.
What is Child Safety?
The Child Safe Standards aim to improve the way organisations such as the University of Melbourne prevent and respond to child abuse. A child is defined as anyone under the age of 18 years. Our belief is that protecting children from harm and abuse should be embedded in the everyday practice of the University community.
As an organisation that provides services for children, we aim to:
- prevent child abuse;
- encourage reporting of any abuse that does occur;
- improve our responses to any allegations of child abuse.
All members of the University community are responsible for promoting the safety and wellbeing of children by:
- familiarising themselves with, and adhering to, all aspects of the Child Safety Policy (MPF1337) below, as well as other relevant policies;
- taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse and consistently modelling appropriate and professional adult behaviour;
- working with children in an open and transparent way, listening to children and responding to them appropriately;
- welcoming all children and their families and/or carers, and being inclusive of all family types;
- reporting and acting on any complaints, concerns or breaches of the Child Safety Policy (MPF1337).
All members of the University community have a positive duty to avoid actions or behaviour that could be harmful or abusive to children, including (but not limited to):
- using offensive or obscene language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate;
- engaging in unauthorised personal contact with children, including through social networking sites or other forms of technology
- developing special or favoured relationships with a child, in person or online, or any behaviour that could be considered for the purpose of grooming that child; Grooming – Criminal Offence Fact Sheet – (Justice Victoria)
- engage in unneccesary physical contact with a child in order to do things of a personal nature that the child would otherwise have the capacity to do themselves (e.g. changing clothing);
- use or misuse of emotional, physical or financial power over a child or young person to sexually or emotionally abuse them;
- sharing visual, written, audio or other material or discussion of a sexual nature with a child either in person or via calls, emails, texts and social media;
- engaging in acts of family violence or placing a child in a position of witness to family violence and the effects of family violence;
- failure to take appropriate care regarding the physical environment for children and creating risk to health and safety.
The University affirms that all forms of child abuse and harm to children are unacceptable and is committed to the implementation of the Victorian Child Safe Standards in order to ensure a safe environment for all members of the University community under 18 years of age.
The University fully supports the objectives of the Child Safe Standards to educate, raise awareness, and help organisations to create and maintain a child safe environment. The child safe standards seek to strengthen the capacity of organisations to prevent and respond to the risks of child abuse, drive cultural change in organisations, and protect children from the risks of abuse and other harm.
To support this, the University has:
- Nominated a Child Safe Champion – Provost, Chancellery
- Nominated a Child Safe Responsible Officer – Director, Wellbeing, University Services
- Developed a Child Safety reporting process via the University’s Safer Community Program for any child safety concern, including disclosure from a child of abuse or harm or a reasonable belief that abuse or harm has occurred or may occur.
Child Safety Policy
The University’s Child Safety Policy (MPF1337) outlines appropriate standards of behaviour towards children. The University seeks to achieve an inclusive and welcoming environment that supports the safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing of all children.
This policy also recognises and promotes the particular requirements related to cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and the provision of a safe environment for children with a disability.
The University is committed to promoting best practice in relation to child safety by:
- taking a proactive approach to the prevention of child abuse by identifying, removing and/or reducing risks early; and
- treating all allegations and safety concerns relating to child abuse with the seriousness they deserve.
University Community Responsibilities
All members of the University community share responsibility for the protection of children and the prevention of child abuse The Child Safety Policy (MPF1337) and reporting process seeks to ensure that all members of the University Community, including children and their parents or guardians, feel confident to alert the University to any child safety concern or allegation of child abuse or harm.
Staff, students, parents, volunteers and visitors associated with the University of Melbourne community, should:
- Comply with the University's Child Safety Policy (MPF1337) which includes standards of behaviour in relation to conduct and children and complying with all child safety obligations, where applicable, such as training and reporting requirements.
- Comply with the established procedure for the University of Melbourne community as the system in place to report and respond to child safety concerns, by reporting any child safety concern to the Safer Community Program.
The Safer Community Program will provide relevant support and information and will coordinate a plan to manage related risk.
Further information and resources
- Safety of Children with a Disability Tip Sheet – (Commission for Children & Young People)
- Safety of Children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds Tip Sheet – (Commission for Children and Young People)
- Cultural Safety for Aboriginal Children Tip Sheet – (Commission for Children & Young People)
- Grooming – Criminal Offence Fact Sheet – (Justice Victoria)
- Failure to Disclose Fact Sheet – (Dept of Justice, Vic)
- Victorian Department of Human Services Child Safe Standards website