Five questions to ask to ensure services are child-safe in western Sydney

The NSW government has designed a set of Child Safe Standards to help organisations become places where all children and young people are safe from abuse or neglect.

The Child Safe Standards are designed to create, maintain and improve child safe practices.

Western Sydney Local Health District’s Integrated Violence Prevention & Response Service (IVPRS) Coordinator, Ly Johnson said this is a very important step.

When organisations apply the Standards they build a culture where abuse of children is prevented, responded to and reported.

Ly Johnson

WSLHD is working towards becoming a child safe organisation by making sure we employ staff who are safe to work with children and young people, making sure our facilities are physically and culturally safe and ensuring we listen to the voices of children and young people.

As a parent or carer, you can also play an important role in making sure your children are safe when attending services. One of the things you can do when accessing a new service is to ask questions about how the service keeps children and young people safe.

Questions could include:

  • Does your service have a code of conduct?
  • Is your service aware of the Child Safe Standards?
  • Are your staff trained to work with children and/or young people?
  • Who do I talk to if I have any issues or questions?
  • How does my child or young person make a complaint?

It is also important for parents to ask children about their experiences with services and let children and young people know they can talk to them if they ever feel scared, worried, upset or uncomfortable.

Hanan Hamza, Child Wellbeing Coordinator

From a service perspective, we can make sure that we:

  • Are respectful in the way we communicate with children and young people
  • Show children and young people that they are welcome no matter their ability, gender, sexuality, family or cultural background
  • Provide information in a way children and young people understand – including how to make a complaint
  • Make sure children and young people know who they can speak to if someone is harming them (including someone within a health service)
  • Give parents information about the skills and training of our staff

If you are interested in finding out more, please view the Child Safe Standards.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the following services:

  • Child Protection Helpline: 13 21 11 (24hrs)
  • 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732 (24hrs)
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 (24hrs)
  • In an emergency or if you are in immediate danger call 000.