Child Safe Standard 7 Strategies to promote theparticipation and empowerment of childrenRationaleDeveloping the capacity in children to raise concerns about their safety requires schools to have afocused and intentional commitment to cultural and structural change that has the empowerment ofchildren as the goal. For Catholic schools, ‘the dignity of every person, independent of ethnicity, creed,gender, sexuality, age or ability, is the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching principles’ (Caritas Australia2016).Schools, in partnership with families, will ensure children and young people are engaged and activeparticipants in decision-making processes, particularly those that have an impact on their safety. Thismeans that the views of staff , children, young people and families are taken seriously and their concernsare addressed in a just and timely manner. Children and young people are also provided with thenecessary skills and knowledge to understand and maintain their personal safety and wellbeing (CECV2016).In BriefStandard 7 underlines the critical importance of schools fostering an environment of openness,inclusiveness and respect where children feel valued and ‘have an awareness of their rights and adults’responsibilities regarding child abuse’ (State of Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services2015). In such an environment, children are supported by being taught skills to maintain personal safetyand simple processes for reporting abuse, inappropriate behavior or concerns for their safety and theyfeel comfortable to do so.Ministerial Order RequirementsThe Victorian government has introduced minimum Child Safe Standards into law to ensure thatorganisations providing services for children create child-safe environments. In accordance withMinisterialOrder No. 870 (State of Victoria, Department of Education and Training 2016), under the Education andTraining Reform Act 2006 (Vic.), all Victorian schools will be required to comply with these new standardsfrom 1 August 2016 as part of their registration requirements.The Ministerial Order specifies the following requirements for schools regarding Standard 7:1.The school governing authority must develop strategies to deliver appropriate education about:a. standards of behaviour for students attending the school;b. healthy and respectful relationships (including sexuality);c. resilience; andd. child abuse awareness and prevention.2. The school governing authority must promote the child safety standards required by this Order in waysthat are readily accessible, easy to understand, and user-friendly to children (State of Victoria,Department of Education and Training 2016).Actions at St Theresa’s School• To be developedResourcesCatholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) 2014, Industrial Relations Page, accessed 16 May2016 www.cecv.catholic.edu.au. For information about and resources from the CECV Industrial RelationsUnit.Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse 2013, Royal Commission intoInstitutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse website, accessed 16 May 2016www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov. au. For information about the focus of the Royal Commissionincluding its research agenda and reportsState of Victoria, Commission for Children and Young People 2015, A Guide for Creating a Child SafeEnvironment Version 2, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne, accessed 16 May 2016 www.ccyp.vic.gov.au/downloads/creating-a-childsafe-organisation- guide.pdf.State of Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services 2011, Human Services, State Governmentof Victoria, Melbourne, accessed 16 May 2016 www.dhs.vic.gov.au/home. For information on theVictorian Child Safe Standards for all organisations working with children.ReferencesCaritas Australia 2016, Catholic Social Teaching, accessed 18 March 2016 www.caritas.org.au/learn/catholic-social-teaching.Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) 2016, Commitment Statement to Child Safety: Asafe and nurturing culture for all children and young people in Catholic schools, CECV, East Melbourne,accessed 16 May 2016 http://cevn.cecv.catholic.edu.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=8589940208.State of Victoria, Department of Education and Training 2016, Child Safe Standards – Managing the Riskof Child Abuse in Schools Ministerial Order No. 870, Education & Training Reform Act 2006, Gazette No.S2, accessed 16 May 2016 www.gazette.vic.gov.au/ gazette/Gazettes2016/GG2016S002.pdf.State of Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 2015, An overview of the Victorianchild safe standards, DHHS, Melbourne, accessed 16 May 2016 www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0005/955598/Child-safe-standards_ overview.doc.State of Victoria, Department of Justice 2016, Betrayal of Trust implementation, State Government ofVictoria, Melbourne, accessed 16 May 2016 www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/safer+communities/protecting+children+and+families/ betrayal+of+trust+implementation. For informationabout the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry response including Criminal Law reform.Truth, Justice and Healing Council 2016, Melbourne Response, Truth Justice and Healing Council,Canberra, accessed 16 May 2016 www.tjhcouncil.org. au/about-us/about-the-council.aspx. Forinformation about the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responsesto Child Sexual Abuse.Victorian Registration & Quali cations Authority (VRQA) 2016, Child Safe Standards, State of Victoria(Department of Education and Training), Melbourne, accessed 16 May 2016 www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/Pages/safety.aspx. For compliance information and advice on implementation of Ministerial Order No. 870 by theregulatory authority responsible for the registration of Victorian schools.