Swinburne leads commitment to ‘Child Safe Standards’ in higher education

Friday 16 June 2017

Hawthorn campus

In summary

  • Swinburne is the first Victorian university to commit to ensuring that all staff have a current and valid Working With Children’s Check. 
  • Swinburne has made further commitments to the Victorian Governments Child Safe Standards. 

Swinburne University of Technology is the first Victorian university to commit to ensuring all staff have a current Working with Children Check (WWCC).

In response to the Victorian Government’s recent Child Safe Standards, all staff, including existing, new, prospective, agency and volunteers will need to have a valid WWCC.

“Universities are required to ensure student-facing staff have a valid WWCC, however at Swinburne we believe for a true commitment to child safety, all staff must comply,” says Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson AO.

The Child Safe Standards were developed and legislated in response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry, which found a culture in organisations allowed child abuse and harm going unnoticed, disbelieved and unchallenged.

The Child Safe Standards seek to drive cultural change and embed a focus on child safety in organisations such as educational institutions that provide services for children and young people.

“Every person connected to the university has a duty of care to children: child safety is everyone’s responsibility. Swinburne supports and respects the participation and empowerment of all children. We want children to feel safe and valued. We all play a part to ensure our children are protected” says Professor Kristjanson.

WWCCs are conducted by the Department of Justice and Regulation, to screen applicant’s criminal and professional conduct records and assess any relevant sexual, violent or drug offences over their lifetime that would pose a risk to the safety of children.

WWCCs are just one of Swinburne’s responses to the Child Safe Standards, and support other university initiatives including:

  • Developed strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety and promote the empowerment of children
  • Embedded child safety in our policy framework and recruitment practices
  • Implemented strategies to remove or reduce risks to children and processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse.