Responding to Child Sexual Abuse – The Minimum Practice Standards

In June 2023, the National Office for Child Safety, in partnership with the Australian Centre for Child Protection and Price Waterhouse Cooper Consulting, published the national Minimum Practice Standards: Specialist and Community Support Services Respond to Child Sexual Abuse (Standards).
The Standards apply to organisations who provide specialist and community support services responding to child sexual abuse across Australia, including organisations that support people who have experienced child sexual abuse or have been impacted by child sexual abuse. The Standards are not designed for mainstream services such as health, education, private psychology clinics or child protection agencies. However out of scope services and organisations should familiarise themselves with the Standards to ensure that their services are informed and influenced by the Standards. The standards are part of the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse and arose from the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Minimum Standards
The six Standards for organisations to provide safe and effective services are:
  1. Promotion of safety and self-determination
  2. Accessible and inclusive services
  3. Holistic and integrated responses
  4. Experience, research, and practice informed way of working
  5. Skilled and supported workforce
  6. Effective organisational governance
The Standards describe the importance of each standard and provides a list of Standard Indicators for each standard. Organisations should compare their current practices within the organisation against these indicators, to assess whether they are compliant with each standard and to set minimum benchmarks for improvement.
The 3 Core Values
There are three core values that underpin the six standards (core values). The core values are connected to the six standards and are as follows:
  1. Culturally safe,
  2. Trauma informed and
  3. Victim and survivor centred.
Cultural safety and humility are essential for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and people from other groups with unique cultures, who have experienced child sexual abuse. Organisations need to respect culture, history, and healing practices, and address power imbalances and biases. This requires ongoing reflection, learning, and leadership at all levels of service delivery.
A trauma-informed approach does not focus on the person’s faults or problems, but on their experiences and needs. It aims to reduce harm and promote healing by understanding and addressing the effects of trauma.
Child sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that affects victims and survivors in many ways. They need services that respect their individuality, voice, and resilience. They also need services that are transparent, flexible, and empowering. Organisations should provide services which are victim and survivor centred, and involve victims and survivors in improving their quality and outcomes.
Complying with the Standards

It is recommended that any organisation which provides community support services responding to child sexual abuse provide training on the core values and minimum standards and why they are important to service provision. Organisations should use the standards to self-assess against the indicators to ensure that they are meeting the minimum standards of service provision, and work towards compliance.

Organisations who are not required to comply with the Standards, should still familiarise themselves with the Standards and utilise the Standards to provide information and knowledge to improve responses to child sexual abuse.

You can access the Minimum Practice Standards here:

How Can Safe Space Legal Help?

The team at Safe Space Legal have extensive child safety and safeguarding experience. We have worked with a number of organisations to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations when working with individuals impacted by child sexual abuse. Safe Space Legal can provide following child safety services:

  • Supporting organisations to recognise gaps in policy and/or practice which put it at risk of non-compliance with legal obligations, including the Minimum Practice Standards, through thorough root cause and gap analyses;

  • Providing sound legal advice on obligations under, and implementation of, the Minimum Practice Standards;

  • Drafting child safety policies, procedures and codes of conduct;

  • Delivering safeguarding training to ensure organisations are aware of their legal obligations, including the Minimum Practice Standards, and duty of care obligations;

  • Conducting child safety and safeguarding investigations which are compliant with relevant state and territory Reportable Conduct Schemes;

  • Ensuring that complaints handling and reporting processes are compliant with legal obligations and relevant Reportable Conduct Schemes; and

  • Assistance and support to respond to allegations of child abuse including notifications under Reportable Conduct Schemes.

Contact [email protected] or call (03) 9124 7321 to organise a complementary discussion in relation to your organisation’s child safety and safeguarding needs.

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