Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

At a time of rapid ongoing change in society and education, the role of an educator or allied professional with specialist knowledge, understanding, skills, disposition and values related to supporting and protecting children and young people in educational and institutional contexts is of critical importance. In this unit, within the Safeguarding Children and Young People specialisation of the Graduate Certificate in Education and Master of Education, students will focus comprehensively on professional practice in specific contexts, particularly Catholic educational institutions. Students will critically analyse current theory, policy and practices related to protecting and safeguarding the wellbeing and safety of young people in schools and institutions and develop their own context-specific perspectives. The unit is designed to support students in reshaping current practices to become more fully aligned with contemporary legal, welfare, educational and Catholic policy and practices, thus ensuring ethical, respectful, low risk practices in safeguarding the wellbeing and safety of children and young people. Therefore, the aim of this unit is to support students in synthesising knowledge, skills, attributes, dispositions and capacities to protect and safeguard all children and young people, particularly those in institutional settings.

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     Examine the literature and the broad range of practices of identification, intervention and assessment of children and young people at risk; and effective strategies to assist teams to develop such understanding (GA1, GA5, GA9, GA10; APST: HA/L 4.1, 4.4, 7.1) 

LO2     Complete a situational analysis of a context within which ethical and respectful practices of safeguarding children and young people are required by law, by policy. by necessity and/or by personal commitment and beliefs including effective ways to communicate ideas with team members (GA1, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST: HA/L 4.4, 7.1) 

LO3     Critique the key principles that underpin the preferred practices implicit in this context that ensure safeguarding children and young people in institutional contexts, particularly Catholic schools or institutions, taking into account the professional learning needs of the school and broader community (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8; GA9, GA10; APST: HA/L 4.1, 4.4, 7.1, 7.2) 

LO4     Articulate your personal/professional positioning/practices as an advocate, and leading others to advocate, for ethical and respectful safeguarding practices with children and young people in one specific context (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA9, GA10; APST: HA/L 4.1, 4.4, 7.1, 7.2).

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 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

4.1  Support student participation (Highly Accomplished/Lead)

4.4  Maintain student safety (Highly Accomplished/Lead)

7.1  Meet professional ethics and responsibilities (Highly Accomplished/Lead)

7.2  Comply with legislative, administrative and organisational requirements (Highly Accomplished/Lead)


Topics will include:

Module One:    Creating child safe environments within schools – lessons from practice

Topic 1: Child-safe organisations – lessons learned from the research and the broader welfare system

Topic 2: Child-informed responses to child sexual abuse: what children and young people want from adults and institutions.

Module Two:    Developing and implementing ethical safeguarding approaches within schools

Topic 1: Developing and implementing child-safe and child-friendly approaches in schools

Topic 2: The role of leadership in promoting and enhancing child-safe schools

Module Three:  Working in partnership – identifying, utilising and overcoming barriers to engaging the community to safeguard children and young people

Topic 1: Evaluating child-safe organisations

Topic 2: Beliefs and values that contribute to child-safe organisations

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered in online, on campus or in blended learning modes. The use of LEO will be integral to the unit in exploring concepts and testing understandings and propositions. Strategies used may include lectures and reading, self-directed learning, participant critical reflection against relevant professional standards with particular reference to the Australian Professional Standards for Principals and Leadership and appropriate standard descriptors from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, case studies, engagement with the literature, dialogue and interrogation of concepts, theories and practices, and the application to current professional contexts.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed above. In addition, these tasks represent an opportunity to align with the particular needs of participant cohorts and their professional contexts. The total assessment will be equivalent to 5,500 words. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit and pass both assessment tasks.

The first task is a situational analysis informed by relevant literature; the second task emerges from the first and requires students to develop a set of principles and practices for a specific context. 

The total assessment will be equivalent to 5,500 words. In order to pass this unit, students 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

Undertake a situational analysis of a context relating to issues of safeguarding children and young people.

The analysis needs to be informed by current literature in the field and to include aspects relating to the needs of all in that context/community, including aspects of working with children and young people.

The format of the analysis is optional. Students may choose to present their analysis as a paper, a resource portfolio, and as an outline of a professional learning activity or in another way that is relevant to their context.

Students should discuss their choice of format with the LiC prior to developing their response to the assessment task


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: 

On the basis of the context analysed in Assessment Task 1:

  1. Develop a set of key principles and practices, supporting these principles with research and overviewing the actions that might need to be taken to inform and support members of the context in enacting the principles.
  2. For the same context, articulate your personal/professional positioning/ practices as an advocate, and with the support of the relevant literature, describe effective ways to lead others to enact ethical and respectful safeguarding practices with children and young people in that context.


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Australian Government Department of Education and Training (2017). National safe schools framework. Retrieved from

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.

Mathews, B. (2017). Optimising implementation of reforms to better prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in institutions: Insights from public health, regulatory theory, and Australia’s Royal Commission. Child Abuse & Neglect, 74, 86-98.

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. Retrieved from

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

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

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.

Wright, K., Swain, S. & McPhillips, K. (2017). The Australian Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 74, 1-9.

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