NSW launches web training to protect children

The NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) said on Tuesday it has launched a free online learning tool to help staff and volunteers in all child-related organisations build their capacity to become child-safe.

This forms part of the Child Safe Strategy for NSW and will complement the draft Child Safe Principles which have now been released for public consultation, OCG said.

It said the eLearning initiative is a free resource for all child-related organisations and means quality training is available at the click of a button to all child-related organisations in remote, rural or regional areas.

“The OCG’s Child Safe Organisations eLearning is made up of eight key modules and addresses real issues including how to identify and respond to potential risks in the organisation, identifying grooming practices, developing policies and guidelines for workers, how to recruit and retain staff and how to create a culture where children are valued and listened to.”

The NSW Children’s Guardian, Ms. Kerryn Boland said: “I cannot emphasise enough, the importance of the role that child-related organisations play in meeting the health, educational, social, religious and cultural needs of our children.

“These organisations rely on the commitment of skilled and caring adults to keep children safe. The draft Child Safe Principles will provide organisations with practical guidance on how they can involve children and families in the services they offer and promote practices which help keep children safe.

“Launching the Child Safe Organisations eLearning program means that all organisations that work with children in NSW – from Bondi to Broken Hill and beyond– can access world-class training with nothing more than a laptop, tablet or smartphone and an internet connection.

“It’s a significant step forward and will allow us to continue building on our work to keep children safe.”

The OCG said the program is endorsed by leading criminologist and researcher Professor Stephen Smallbone of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University in Queensland. He specialises in situational prevention in reducing sexual abuse of children.

Professor Smallbone, well- known for his expert input at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse said: “The Royal Commission has reminded us that children can be abused not just in their own homes or social circles, but also in the organisations they spend time in.

“The NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian has produced this set of digital resources as part of its commitment to assist organisations on child safe practices. In particular to provide guidance to organisations to recognise and manage the risks to the children in their care.

“Crucially, these resources have been developed with prevention in mind, placing a much-needed emphasis on what organisations can do not just to respond to abuse, but importantly how abuse may be prevented in the first instance.

“Every organisation that works with children should be using these resources to build safe environments for our children,” he said.

The Child Safe Organisations eLearning program has already received official support from organisations including NSW Office of Sport; NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Directorate; Play by the Rules; Life Without Barriers; Football NSW; Netball NSW; KU Children’s Services; Scouts NSW; Girl Guides NSW; Association of Independent Schools; and the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta.

The OCG has drafted Principles for Child Safe Organisations to guide organisations on how to be child safe which are currently open for feedback.

For further information on the Child Safe Organisations eLearning program, visit www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/child-safe-elearning.