Children and Young People's Safety

Group of kids sitting on the floor laughing

Yarra Ranges Council is a Child Safe Organisation and is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people in our community. We take a zero tolerance approach to child abuse and neglect, particularly in relation to Council services and programs. Staff members, volunteers, business and organisations working with Council all play a part in creating a community where everyone feels confident, empowered and supported to speak up about child safety concerns.

Are you worried about a child or young person?

If you live, work or play across Yarra Ranges, support is available should you have concern for a child or young person’s health or safety. See the quick contact guide below for who you need to contact.

If you’d like more information about Child Safety or advice on meeting your organisational obligations, you can email ChildSafe@yarraranges.vic.gov.au or call a Designed Child Safety Officer at Yarra Ranges Council on 1300 368 333.

Why is it important to report child abuse?

  • Reporting child abuse is the important first step in helping children and young people who are experiencing abuse and neglect.
  • Abuse can have a devastating impact on the lives of children and young people. Failure to report means that the child or young person could continue to experience abuse.
  • Taking action ensures that children and families get the help and support they need
  • When concerns, disclosures or allegations are not acted upon, the perpetrator will keep abusing children and may move from organisation to organisation, from community to community or continue to abuse within their own family.
  • Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility. 

Child Safety Legislation / Council’s Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy

The 2013 Victorian Betrayal of Trust parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse developed a number of recommendations that has since seen the introduction of key reforms including criminal and civil law and child safe organisations.

The criminal and civil laws include:

  • Failure to Protect
  • Failure to Disclose (Report)
  • Grooming offences
  • Duty of Care Wrongs Amendment
  • Amendments to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 for Mandatory Reporting and Working with Children Act 2005

The Victorian reforms are reinforced by legislation that overseen by the Commission for Children and Young People and in some cases strict penalties apply.

In 2019 the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, developed by the National Human Rights Commission was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments.

Yarra Ranges follows both the Victorian Child Safe Standards and National Principles to provide tools and initiatives, to create safe environments for children and young people. View Council’s Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy.

Reporting an Incident

What Is Child Abuse?

  • Physical Abuse – non-accidental infliction of physical violence, which injures or harms a child/ young person
  • Sexual Abuse - when an adult uses force or power to involve a child/young person in sexual activity.
  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse –rejecting, isolating, excluding, threatening, verbal abuse, coldness.
  • Neglect - failing to meet a child/young person’s basic needs; food, drink, clothing, hygiene, medical attention, supervision.
  • Family Violence – any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour in a domestic setting.
  • Grooming – when an adult communicates and/or attempts to establish a relationship to prepare a child for sexual activity at a later time.

You Must Report

  • When a child/ young person is in immediate physical danger or the concern relates to sexual abuse – CALL the Police on 000 
  • If there’s a disclosure, allegation or observation made and you have reasonable belief that a child is in need of protection, report to an appropriate Authority listed below
  • It is important that you record what you observe in relation to your concern including the date, location and description of child/ people involved.
  • Child abuse is upsetting – seek support yourself if this experience triggers strong emotions.

 

Quick Contact Guide - Authorities and Support Services

 

Reporting and Regulatory Authorities

Phone

Victoria Police

000

Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection

1300 360 391

131 278 (after hours)

Lilydale Police Station

9739 2300

Commission for Children and Young People

1300 782 978

Information and Support Services

Child FIRST

1300 369 146

Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection

1300 360 391

Counselling Support Services

Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (ECASA)

9870 7330

1800 806 292 (24 hrs)

Australian Childhood Foundation

1800 176 453

Children’s Protection Society

9450 0900

Berry Street

5822 8100