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Create a child safe environment

A child safe organisation protects children from harm in an environment where children feel respected, valued and encouraged to reach their full potential.

This is embedded in an organisation’s policies and procedures and supported by all members.

A child safe and child friendly environment minimises the risk to children from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological harm and from neglect.

What must your organisation do?

On 22 October 2018 some of the requirements to create and maintain a child safe environment were removed from the Children’s Protection Act 1993 and replaced by the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017.

All sport and recreation organisations that provide services to children and young people under 18 years of age must lodge a Child Safe Environment Compliance Statement with the Department for Education to confirm appropriate child safe environment policies and procedures are in place.

A sport and recreation organisation can be government or non-government agencies, not-for-profit organisations or commercial enterprises or those in business as sole traders or in partnership.

Compliance Statements lodged with the Department for Education prior to 22 October 2018 were “rolled over”.  If your organisation has submitted an incomplete Statement or needs to do so for the first time, please address this as a priority.

Many state sporting and recreation organisations have lodged a Statement on behalf of their affiliated clubs. Clubs who are unsure of whether they are covered by their governing body Statement should contact them directly.

Under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 a Compliance Statement will need to be lodged whenever relevant policies and procedures are adopted, varied or substituted.

The Act also requires organisations to review their child safe environment policies and procedures at least once every 5 years. Further information can be found here.

Applying the Principles of Good Practice

The principles of good practice, which are issued under the Act, are a practical guide to establishing and maintaining a child safe environment.

Organisations/clubs must:

  • develop a risk management plan addressing the safety of children with respect to other people within the organisation
  • have a child safe policy or a member protection policy  which addresses the child safe obligations
  • have guidelines and procedures that support the policy
  • have codes of conduct for adults and children
  • understand and adhere to relevant history assessment obligations
  • adopt clear recruitment procedures for staff and volunteers e.g. referee checks, qualification checks if applicable
  • provide staff and volunteers with information or training around child safe environments, and provide support in their roles
  • encourage the participation of children in decision making (let them have a say or provide feedback)
  • ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of their mandated notification obligations

For more information view Department for Education’s Principles of Good Practice.

As at 22 October 2018 there are no changes to legislation regarding relevant history assessments.  Sections 8B, 8BA and 8D of the Children’s Protection Act 1993 continue to apply.  Recreation and sport organisations must continue to adhere to current requirements.

What is a Child Safe Officer?

The Child Safe Officer (CSO) is a person who can deliver advice and awareness within their organisation or club around developing a child safe environment

What does a Child Safe Officer do?

The training provided by ORSR assists the CSO to:

  • understand the importance for organisations to adopt appropriate screening processes for members working with young children and young people and the requirement for criminal history assessments
  • understand how and why child protection needs to be included in an organisation's /group's Member Protection Policy (MPP), or for a separate Child Protection Policy to be implemented if they do not have a MPP
  • understand the definitions and indicators of child at risk
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the legal responsibilities of staff and volunteers working with children.
  • have a broad knowledge of the Child Abuse Report Line processes and procedures.

The CSO may work with the club to develop procedures specific to that club to assist with minimising risk to children, provide education to coaches, administrators and club members, promote the policies and procedures and provide advice if required.

Child Safe Officer Training

This course is an evening 3 hour face to face training held at various locations around Adelaide and regional areas. Prior to attending this training you must complete the online training in Child Protection and Harassment and Discrimination on www.playbytherules.net.au

Upcoming child safe training


Resources and Links to help you

The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing is currently working on updating the resources on this page. To access unlinked documents and discuss the update timeframe please phone 1300 714 990.

Keeping Children safe in recreation and sport booklets (PDF, 2787 KB)

Club PowerPoint Presentation for internal club education (PPT, 2695 KB)

Mandatory Reporting Guide

Codes of conduct for junior sport template (DOCX, 83 KB)

Managing allegations of child abuse (PDF, 225 KB)

Play by the Rules provides:

Online training in Child Protection and Harassment and Discrimination is recommended for all involved in delivering services and activities to children. Coaches and Team Managers in particular should complete this and be required to present the certificate to the club for recording.

Resources including coach guidelines, chaperone information, junior team selection policy template and more.

Relevant History Assessments

All staff and volunteers who occupy a prescribed position (as set out under section 8B (8) of the South Australian Children's Protection Act 1993) are required to undergo a relevant history assessment once every three years unless an exemption applies.


Organisations Member Protection Policy, Child Safe Policy or procedures should outline the process for meeting this obligation and the exemptions approved by the organisation.

The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing understands that there is some confusion throughout our sector regarding current obligations for screening. The implementation of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 has not changed relevant history assessment requirements.  The current options available under the Children’s Protection Act 1993 are explained below:

Procedure for conducting relevant history assessments

There are 2 options for meeting the obligation for relevant history assessments. Organisations should check with their governing body as to the process they require for meeting this requirement.

National Police Certificates or Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI)/Department of Human Services (DHS) child related employment screenings which have been obtained for another role but are still valid (less than 3 years old) may be accepted.

Option 1

An assessment of a National Police Check (NPC) from South Australia Police will be required for all persons taking on a role in a prescribed position prior to their appointment and then at three yearly intervals.

An individual must present an original National Police Certificate for viewing, assessment and recording to the nominated person at either their club or association according to the policy of the organisation. This may be posted to the organisation and they must return it to the applicant within 3 months. It must not be copied or retained by the organisation.

Where a person has no disclosable criminal history, the assessment is successfully completed and no further action in respect to an assessment is required.

Where an individual does have a criminal history, the organisation must assess this information in accordance with Standard 5 of the Standards for dealing with information about a person’s criminal history as part of a relevant history assessment  -  https://www.education.sa.gov.au/child-protection/child-safe-environments/additional-resources-creating-child-safe-environments

Option 2

Department of Human Services Screening Unit conducts assessments for child related employment for persons taking on a role in a prescribed position prior to their appointment and then at three yearly intervals.

Some organisations may have a policy position that only accepts this option as it is a higher level of assessment and therefore provides greater protection for children.

Child related employment screenings for volunteers are free however a fee applies to those in a paid position and therefore is a cost which will need to be negotiated between the club and applicant.

The screening process needs to be started by the organisation requiring the screening, and is completed by the individual applicant.  Details of the application process are available from https://screening.sa.gov.au/apply

Working with Children Check (from 1 July 2019)

From 1 July 2019, South Australia’s child-related employment and volunteer screening will be replaced with a new Working With Children Check (WWCC), as legislated under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016. The introduction of the new legislation is being led by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

From 1 July 2019 all employees and volunteers working with children must have a valid child-related clearance.  This means:

  • A valid, current DCSI/DHS child-related employment screening conducted prior to 1 July.  These will be recognised until expiry.
  • A current National Police Certificate assessed by a responsible authority.  These will be recognised for 12 months, NPC holders must have a WWCC by 1 July 2020.
  • A WWCC issued from 1 July 2019.

Key features of the new law include:

  • Only the Department of Human Services (DHS) Screening Unit can conduct and issue a WWCC.
  • Individuals will be able to apply for a WWCC from 1 July 2019.
  • WWCC are valid for 5 years instead of the current three years.
  • A WWCC will be portable across jobs and organisations, anywhere in South Australia.

DHS has commenced a public promotion and education campaign. Members of sport and recreation organisations are encouraged to familiarise themselves with information available on the DHS website.

The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing is liaising closely with DHS Screening Unit to ensure concerns are addressed and information that clarifies the application of the new Act is circulated as it becomes available.

Queries should be directed to the DHS Screening Unit on 1300 321 592.