Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

It is imperative that people working in the human services have an understanding of the legal and welfare issues that shape contemporary approaches to working with children and vulnerable adults. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has exposed the systemic problems of poor policy, poor management, and inadequate processes to protect children. There is a clear need for good policy and law to regulate professional practice. This unit provides a critical analysis of law and welfare policy in the aftermath of the intense public scrutiny provided by the Royal Commission and suggests ways that services might operate to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.

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 - critique the fundamental principles that are central to law and welfare that inform team members so that they can implement effective safeguarding strategies to support children and young people in organisational/institutional contexts (GA1, GA2; AQF8 Kn1, Sk1, Ap1; SCYP 2.3, 2.5, 3.5)

LO2 - demonstrate a deep understanding of the law, legislation and policy that impact and shape of the safeguarding of children in Australia and the correlation amongst Catholic or other moral and social teaching, child protection law, legislation and welfare policies in Australia and organisational /international contexts and effective strategies to assist teams to develop such understanding (GA2, GA6; AQF8 Kn1, Sk1, Ap1; SCYP 1.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.5, 5.5, 6.3)

LO3 - analyse and synthesise effective ways to inform teams about the broad range of legislation, regulations and policy that impact and shape the safeguarding of children and young people in organisational/institutional contexts both locally and globally (GA1, GA3; AQF8 Kn1, Sk1, Ap1; SCYP 2.1, 2.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4).

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


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 

1.3 Knows the risks inherent in their particular institutional/organisational context

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

2.5  Applies legal, ethical and professional responsibilities relating to children’s safety

ACU SCYP 3.   Develop and implements 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

3.4  Knows and addresses the responsibilities and limitations of mandatory screening and reporting schemes

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

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

6.3  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:

  • Law, legislation and policy that impact and shape the safeguarding of children
  • Interdisciplinary interrelationships amongst Catholic social and moral teaching, child protection law, legislation, regulations and welfare policies in Australia and international contexts
  • Identification and management of high order risks for children, families, staff members, volunteers and welfare workers implicit in child protection work from legal, welfare and religious perspectives
  • Defining appropriate behaviour and boundaries between adults and children and young people
  • The responsibilities and limitations of mandatory screening and reporting schemes

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. Where appropriate, part or all of the unit may be delivered 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 policy analysis of key documents relevant to safeguarding practices. By synthesizing the key learnings through the assessment tasks, participants will develop a focused plan to lead others to enact ethical and respectful safeguarding practices with children and young people in line with best practice and legal frameworks.

The analysis of existing policy documents and transition towards an understanding of how such policy might be applied and interpreted in practice requires students to engage critically with policy and application.

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: 

System Policy review and analysis

(2,500 words equivalent)


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA2, GA3

Assessment Task 2 

Localised policy implementation plan

(Written Report)


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA6

Representative texts and references

Australian Child Protection Legislation. Retrieved from

Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (2013). Submission to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Issues Paper 3 – Child Safe Institutions Principles for Child Safety in Organisations. Retrieved from

Australian Government Department of Education and Training (2010). National safe schools framework. Retrieved from

Beyer, L. R., Higgins, D. J. & and Bromfield, L. M. (2005). Understanding organisational risk factors for child maltreatment: A review of literature. National Child Protection Clearinghouse Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Commissioner for Children, Tasmania. (2015). Strengthening child safe organisations. Retrieved from

Protecting Children—Protocol between Child Protection, Department of Human Services and Victorian Schools, Victorian Government Publishing Service 2001. Retrieved from

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

Swain, S. (2014). History of child protection legislation. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Sydney. 

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

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