Keeping children safe and well is everybody's business

For National Child Protection Week this week, we’re sharing the latest steps ACU is taking to prioritise the protection and wellbeing of all children, young people and adults at risk.

In Australia, over 350,000 reports of child abuse are made every year (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). However, child protection statistics are limited, and they do not reveal with accuracy how many children in the community have been abused or neglected.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse revealed in 2017 that “the sexual abuse of children has occurred in almost every type of institution where children reside or attend for educational, recreational, sporting, religious or cultural activities” (Royal Commission Final Report 2017). 

Some common findings within these organisations that contributed to this include:

  • poor practices 
  • failures to record and report complaints or understating the seriousness of complaints 
  • cultures where the best interests of children were not a priority. 

The Royal Commission recommended that organisations need to keep children and young people safe by: 

  • listening to children and young people and taking them seriously 
  • having a child-friendly reporting mechanism 
  • having a child-safe culture built on more than simply compliance. 

One of the main recommendations to come out of the Royal Commission was that organisations need to keep children and young people safe by having a child-safe culture built on more than simply compliance.

At the Respect. Now. Always. Advisory Committee Meeting in August this year, the Vice-Chancellor approved the implementation of ACU’s Safeguarding Children, Young People and Adults at Risk Action Plan.  

ACU will work to implement all 10 standards of the action plan over the next two years, bringing ACU into compliance with both the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and the Catholic Safeguarding Standards. Regular updates on ACU’s progress against the action plan will be made available on ACU’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Portal.

The protection and wellbeing of all children, young people and adults at risk is ACU’s priority. If you or your faculty or directorate interact, engage with or involve children, young people and adults at risk and you would like assistance, support or guidance, please reach out to ACU’s National Safeguarding Officer (Policy, Support and Compliance), Taleah Neowhouse, on extension 2002 or at taleah.neowhouse@acu.edu.au.

Keeping Children Safe


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