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Children with diverse backgrounds and needs

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations act as a national benchmark for protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in organisational settings across Australia. The principles apply to organisations of different sizes and across various sectors.

Organisations should be safe and welcoming for all children and young people. A welcoming organisation is one where all children and young people feel comfortable and where services are provided in culturally safe and inclusive ways. This reduces the risk of discrimination, exclusion, bullying and abuse.

The National Principles highlight the need for organisations to consider the particular needs of children from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. In particular:

National Principle 4 requires that equity is upheld and diverse needs are respected in policy and practice.

This principle focuses on how recognition of children and young people’s diverse circumstances enables an organisation to work in a more child centred way and empowers children and young people to participate more effectively. This builds an organisational culture which embraces all children regardless of their abilities, sex, gender, or social, economic or cultural background.

The key action areas and indicators under this principle include, among others:

  • Children and young people have access to information, support and complaints processes in ways that are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand.
  • The organisation pays particular attention to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, children who are unable to live at home, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people.
  • Board members, employees and volunteers champion attitudes and behaviours that respect the human rights of all children and young people, and are inclusive, well informed and responsive to diverse needs.
  • Staff and volunteers are trained to recognise and respond effectively to children and young people with diverse needs.

There are practical tools and training resources available to help organisations implement the National Principles.