Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The development of a strategic and sustainable plan for creating child safe environments within organisations/institutions is critical to support child flourishing and to achieve the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This unit synthesises the development of knowledge, skills, attributes, dispositions and capacities in respect to safeguarding children and young people. It focuses comprehensively on professional practices in specific contexts particularly Catholic organisations/institutions. A final project will be presented that is context specific and will reflect individual perspectives on current theory, policy and practices in the area of safeguarding young people in Catholic and other organisations/institutions. More specifically the unit aims to enable participants to lead the reshaping of current practices to become more fully aligned with contemporary legal, welfare, educational and Catholic policy to ensure an ethical and respectful commitment to the safeguarding and wellbeing of children and young people.

The professional reflection and the critical evaluation of practice required by this unit is applied in the design and development of strategies and plans to improve practice, and to monitor and maintain a culture of safety for children and young people.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - critically interpret contemporary identification, assessment and intervention practices that support  children and young people at risk in order to assist local teams to develop common understandings (GA1, GA5; AQF8 Kn1, Sk1, Ap1; SCYP 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 5.4, 6.2)

LO2 - apply key knowledge development and analyse context within which ethical and respectful practices of safeguarding children and young people is required by law, by policy. by necessity and/or by personal commitment and beliefs (GA1, GA5, GA8; AQF8 Kn1, Sk1, Ap1; SCYP 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5)

LO3 - articulate and critique the key principles that underpin the preferred practices implicit in this context that ensure safeguarding children and young people in organisational/institutional contexts, particularly Catholic organisations/institutions, taking into account the professional learning needs of the organisation/institution and broader community (GA1, GA5, GA8; GA3; AQF8 Kn1, Sk1, Ap1; SCYP 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 3.2, 3.5, 4.3)

LO4 - articulate personal/professional positioning/practices as an advocate to lead others to advocate, for ethical and respectful safeguarding practices with children and young people in one specific context (GA1, GA3, GA5; AQF8 Kn1, Sk1, Ap1; SCYP 3.5, 5.2, 5.5, 6.3).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Alongside the learning outcomes for this unit, on successful completion, students should have developed the ability to

ACU SCYP 1.     Understand the nature of sexual abuse and other types of abuse experienced by children and young people and factors that influence the risk of abuse occurring 

1.2 Knows the risk and protective factors associated with children and young people 

ACU SCYP 2.     Foster child-safe organisational cultures and environments through leadership, governance, and practice

2.1  Knows what enables and encourages child-safe institutional/organisational cultures and environments and approaches that promote them 

2.2  Knows what child-safe practices are effective in their institutional/ organisational context to prevent and respond to sexual abuse and other types of abuse

2.3  Addresses the attitudes, beliefs and values of staff and communities about children and young people, sexual abuse and other types of abuse to support child-safe behaviours 

2.4  Develops and implements a comprehensive child-safe governance framework that includes policies, code of conduct, human resource procedures and clear accountabilities for staff

2.6  Engages families and communities in culturally appropriate ways

ACU SCYP 3.   Develop and implement effective strategies that address risks, based on the situational prevention model and takes appropriate action when concerns and issues arise

3.1  Knows what strategies are effective and how to apply policies and strategies in their institutional/organisational context

3.2  Develops, implements and reviews appropriate child-safe policies, procedures and practices 

3.3  Knows how to define appropriate behaviour and boundaries between adults and children and young people; why boundaries are important and how best to respond if adults violate these

3.5  Implements effective human resource procedures to protect children and young people including appropriate values-based screening and pre-employment strategies; ongoing professional development, supervision, monitoring and mentoring of staff and volunteers; and clear accountabilities

ACU SCYP 4.   Facilitate children and young people’s engagement in child-centred participatory processes, including those that enable and respond to disclosures and complaint

4.3  Knows and utilises the resources available to help adults ask for—and respond to—the views of children and young people about safety within institutions/organisations

ACU SCYP 5.   Apply sex education and sexual abuse prevention models to address the safety needs of children and young people

5.2  Demonstrates skills in being able to talk in developmentally appropriate and safe ways with young people about sexuality, relationships, safety, and help-seeking

5.4  Knows the learning needs of children and young people to prevent, manage and seek help when exposed to risks of harm

5.5  Applies models within their organisation, and embeds skill development and accountabilities within their institutional/organisational processes for ensuring the sex/relationship education needs of children and young people are met (e.g., supervision of staff and volunteers)

ACU SCYP 6. Respond appropriately to the ongoing needs of children and young people who have experienced abuse and manage the impact of this abuse on other children and young people, staff, families and the institution/organisation

6.2  Knows and demonstrates an appreciation of the impacts of abuse on children and young people, and the vicarious impacts for other children, families, staff and the institution/organisation

6.3  Knows and can demonstrate appropriate responses in instances of child abuse (both within and outside the institution/organisation), including mandatory reporting, the development of safety plans and providing appropriate support to victims, other children, families, staff and the institution/organisation.


Topics will include:

  • Creating child safe environments within organisations/institutions – lessons from practice
  • Child safe organisations/institutions – lessons from research and the broader welfare system
  • Child-informed responses to child sexual abuse
  • The responsibilities and limitations of mandatory screening and reporting schemes
  • Developing and implementing ethical safeguarding approaches within organisations/institutions – risk analysis and management
  • The role of leadership in promoting and enhancing child-safe organisations
  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive child-safe governance framework that includes policies, code of conduct, human resource procedures and accountabilities
  • Evaluating child-safe practices in their institutional/organisational context
  • Working in partnership – identifying, utilising and overcoming barriers to engage the community in safeguarding practices
  • Addressing the attitudes, beliefs and values of staff and communities about children and young people, sexual abuse and other types of abuse
  • Engaging with families and communities

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode (i.e. delivered online and in face-to-face contexts) and uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with the identification and response to risk in supporting children and young people. Students will explore key issues and develop a deeper contextualised understanding of child safety, empowerment and flourishing through online asynchronous activities and where appropriate synchronous online webinars or  face to face The use of LEO will be integral to the unit. Other activities may include lectures and reading, self-directed learning, participant critical reflection against relevant professional standards with particular reference to case studies, engagement with the literature, dialogue and interrogation of concepts, theories and practices, and the application to current professional contexts.

Directed study includes activities such lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours is private study and practice and assessment preparation.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment will relate directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. Some flexibility may be exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the student cohort and their professional situation. The focus of the assessments enable participants to draw on their professional knowledge, unit content and relevant literature to develop a situational analysis of a specific context. By synthesizing the key learnings through the assessment tasks, participants will develop focused strategies to lead others to enact ethical and respectful safeguarding practices with children and young people in that context relevant to their professional setting

The total assessment will be equivalent to 5.000 words (Graduate Certificate). In order to pass this unit, participants will be required to submit and pass all assessment tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 

Situational analysis report presented as a written paper, a podcast/video, a resource portfolio, set of professional learning activities or in another way relevant to the context and negotiated with the LIC (2,500 words equivalent)

Requires students to critically analyse a professional context and identify issues 


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2  

Safeguarding Action Plan

(Written Task) (2,500 words)

Requires students to demonstrate their capacity to apply their knowledge to planning and advocacy.


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2016). Publications relating to Child, Family and Community Australia. Retrieved from

Commonwealth of Australia. (2015). Third three-year action plan 2015-2018. Driving Change: Intervening Early. National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020. Author.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Noble-Carr, D., & Harcourt, D. (2015). Taking us seriously: Children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns. Melbourne, Vic: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University. 

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. (2014). Interim Report. Volumes 1 & 2. ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Saunders, R. (2014). Effectiveness of research-based teacher professional development. Australian Journal of Teacher Education,39(4).

Smallbone, S., Marshall, W. L., & Wortley, R. (2013). Preventing child sexual abuse: Evidence, policy and practice. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.

Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC). (2013). National safe schools framework. Retrieved from

Victorian Government Department of Human Services Melbourne. (2013). Child sexual abuse: Understanding and responding: for professionals working with children who have experienced sexual abuse. Retrieved from:,-families-and-young-people/child-protection/about-child-abuse/what-is-child-abuse/understanding-child-sexual-abuse-and-responding/Child-sexual-abuse_0813.pdf

Victorian Government. (2017). Child Safe Standards Resources. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from

Walsh, K., Berthelsen, D., Nicholson, J. M., Brandon, L., Stevens, J., & Rachele, J. N. (2013). Child sexual abuse prevention education: A review of school policy and curriculum provision in Australia. Oxford Review of Education, 39(5), 649-68.


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