New child abuse laws come into force across Victoria
From ABC News online 01/01/2016:
Legislation to help protect children from abuse has come into force across Victoria.
The new legislation aims to ensure that all organisations dealing with children have the measures in place to prevent and respond to child abuse.
The new rules will apply to all organisations that receive government funding or are regulated by government, including hospitals, child and family-welfare organisations, schools, child care centres and kindergartens.
From next year, the rule will also spread to organisations that receive little or no government funding, including sporting groups and child entertainment providers.
Organisations will need to ensure a code of conduct is in place and staff are properly screened and trained to deal with children.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said the new standards would work to drive cultural change within organisations.
“We take the view that child safety is the responsibility of everyone in the community, and these new laws make it clear we expect high standards of any organisation that works with children,” she said.
Ms Mikakos said cultural changes were needed within organisations to help protect children.
“This is about keeping children safe. We want new ways of protecting children from abuse to be part of everyday thinking and practice,” she said.
“These standards will help organisations such as clubs and individuals that interact with children to do all that they can to prevent abuse and respond quickly when it is alleged.”
A report released in August into the sexual exploitation of children in state care called for substantial changes to Victoria’s residential care system and its handling of the exploitation of vulnerable children.