Annual child safety statement of compliance 2023

Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

Date published:
31 October 2023

This statement outlines how our department complies with the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework.

It includes an overview of:

  • our commitment to child safety
  • how our department interacts with children and young people
  • our child safety risk assessment.

Publishing these statements every year is a requirement under the framework. 

Commitment to child safety

The department is committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Our focus is to maintain a safe, respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment for all children and young people. The department ensures that children and young people are supported, respected, and their rights, needs and interests are met.

The department recognises the shared responsibility of all employees to keep children and young people safe and commits to protecting and safeguarding children and young people by: 

  • creating policies and procedures to protect children and young people
  • ensuring all staff are aware of the policies and procedures and abide by them
  • creating conditions that reduce the likelihood of harm
  • regularly undertake and review existing risk assessments of all child safety related risks, acknowledging and managing any child safety incidents effectively
  • being compliant with the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework (the framework)
  • adopting and implementing, where applicable, the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Department’s interaction with children and young people

The department undertakes some activities that either directly or indirectly may involve children and young people. These include: 

  • the Australian Space Discovery Centre (SA) and Questacon (ACT), which are provided and managed by the department as educational facilities, and are visited by children, young people and adults
  • external school and school holiday programs which include visits to Questacon and the Space Discovery Centre
  • school and educational institution visits, community events and exhibitions to discuss departmental work. 

Child safety risk assessment and mitigation

The department completed its annual child safe risk assessment review in August 2023. The assessment determined our overall level of risk with treatment plans in place is low. 

The key risk to child safety identified in the risk assessment review was harm to a child or young person whilst involved in department activities. The potential consequences include harm (including physical and psychological harm) and lack of cultural respect, racism or other vilification.

The department has undertaken a range of actions to address and mitigate these risks. 

Compliance with the framework and future improvements

The department is aware of the 4 requirements under the framework:

  1. Undertake risk assessment reviews annually in relation to activities of the entity, to identify the level of responsibility for, and contact with, children, evaluate risks to child safety, and put in place appropriate strategies to manage identified risks.
  2. Establish and maintain a system of training and compliance, to make staff aware of, and comply with, the Framework and relevant legislation, including Working with Children Checks (WWCCs)/Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Checks and mandatory reporting requirements.
  3. Adopt and implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
  4. Publish an annual statement of compliance with the framework, including an overview of the entity’s child safety risk assessment (conducted under Requirement 1). 

The department is committed to exercising continuous efforts to be a child safe organisation through the implementation of the framework. The department has demonstrated compliance with requirements by: 

  1. Developing and regularly reviewing enterprise-wide risk assessments, as well as additional risk assessments for divisions with regular engagement with children and young people
  2. providing child safety training to staff who either work directly with children and young people or may have contact with children and young people as part of their work
  3. ensuring that Working with Children Checks (WWCC) or Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) are mandatory for staff and volunteers undertaking work for Questacon or the Space Discovery Centre
  4. adopting the National Principles to be a Child Safe Organisation. 

For continuous improvement measures, the department is planning to implement training that includes specific information pertaining to risk and complaints-handling mechanisms.