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Addressing child safety and wellbeing

Our commitment to providing a child safe, child friendly environment.
The University of Sydney is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people, and providing a child safe culture and environment.

Our commitment and values

The University affirms that all forms of abuse and harm of children is unacceptable and is committed to the Child Safe Standards and National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. We understand that child safety is everyone’s responsibility, and monitoring the care, safety and outcomes of services for children and young people is critical to ensuring their wellbeing and fostering a child safe culture.

What is the University doing?

We are committed to protecting children by continually improving our child safe practices to embed child safety in the attitudes, behaviours and practices of our organisation. 

In response to the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW), the Children's Guardian Act 2019 (NSW) and the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations we have: 

  • established a Child Safety Working Group and Steering Committee to guide a University-wide strategic approach to support the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children; 
  • developed a Working with Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy;
  • updated our International Student Under 18 Policy
  • implemented a software platform (Sonia) to track and record student Working With Children Checks; 
  • implemented a software platform (Workday) to track and record staff and affiliate Working With Children Checks; and
  • implemented a reportable conduct scheme to enable the investigation and reporting of any allegations of the mistreatment of children to the Children’s Guardian.

A child safe culture is a set of values and practices that guide the attitudes and behaviour of all our staff. The following values are at the heart of our approach to prioritising children’s safety at the University.

  • Children’s safety, wellbeing and their protection from harm is our top priority. 
  • Child abuse in any form, including physical assault, psychological harm, or sexual misconduct, is not tolerated and must not happen. 
  • Children’s rights are understood and respected. 
  • Concerns about child safety raised by children and their parents and carers are immediately acted on. 
  • Robust systems are in place to identify, prevent, and respond to any risks or incidents of child abuse.
  • Reporting abuse is not obstructed or prevented.

The Child Safe Standards and National Principles for Child Safe Organisations are frameworks designed to promote the safety and wellbeing of children. The frameworks are implemented through systems, policies, and processes. 

The Child Safe Standards (set out in section 8C of the Children's Guardian Act 2019 [NSW]) are:

1. Child safety is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.

2. Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

3. Families and communities are informed and involved.

4. Equity is upheld, and diverse needs are taken into account.

5. People working with children are suitable and supported.

6. Processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child focused.

7. Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training.

8. Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur.

9. Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved.

10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe.

The National Principles for Child Safe organisations have been endorsed by the federal government and all state and territory governments. They are slightly broader than the NSW Child Safe Standards and, in some instances, provide guidance on how each principle is to be implemented and maintained.

The National Principles require organisations to:

  • specifically address wellbeing, as well as child safety, in policy and practice;
  • inform children and young people about their rights;
  • promote safety and wellbeing for children and young people by informing and involving families and communities;
  • embed equity and diverse needs in policy and practice;
  • respond to complaints and concerns of child abuse; and
  • minimise the opportunity for abuse and harm to occur.

How to report a child safety concern or incident

If you or a child are in immediate danger, call triple zero (000) for emergency services. Calling the police is the quickest way to get help in an emergency.

If an incident occurs on campus, you can also call +61 2 9351 3333 (emergencies), or +61 2 9351 3487 (Campus Security).

You can also report a concern or matter to

All children have the right to be safe. The University of Sydney has zero tolerance for child abuse and all forms of harm to children. We are committed to putting the interests of children first, keeping them safe from harm and making sure they have a positive experience with us.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott