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Auditor General finds schools failing to comply with rules to prevent child abuse

Today, the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office released its report entitled “School Compliance with Victoria’s Child Safe Standards” that looked at compliance with rules designed to protect all Victorian school children from abuse.

The report finds that since the implementation of the standards by the Andrews Labor Government in 2015, one third of Victorian schools have failed to comply with regulations designed to minimise children’s exposure to harm at the time they were assessed. Schools are required to comply with the standards in order to be registered.

These standards were implemented by the Andrews Labor Government in response to the 2013 Betrayal of Trust report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations.

The report also found that whilst schools are working hard to implement the standards, the government has failed to ensure those standards are being properly implemented and assessed.

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, which is responsible for ensuring standards are followed, purposefully does not inform schools about how to follow the rules and inconsistently measures compliance, despite the government setting out a statement of expectations to the authority in 2018.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Education, Cindy McLeish:

“This is a damning report that exposes the Andrews Labor Government’s failure to ensure compliance with rules designed to keep our children safe.

After shining a big spotlight on child abuse, it is gobsmacking to think the government is unable to ensure standards that prevent abuse are being followed.

Daniel Andrews should take immediate action to make sure all schools understand the Child Safe Standards and to ensure the standards are monitored transparently and complied with.”

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