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, values and beliefs 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 develop knowledge and understanding about the importance of wellbeing, rights, safety, dignity and the inclusion of student perspectives in addressing and preventing risk in educational and institutional contexts. Students will also focus on responding to concerns, developing plans and strategies to support children and young people's participation in educational and institutional contexts, and developing proactive and preventative frameworks within the broader community. Therefore, the aim of this unit is to support students in developing the required advanced knowledge, understanding and skills they need in order to support and protect all children and young people in educational and institutional contexts.

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     Articulate a synthesised knowledge of the mandates of key international treaties and national and state policies relevant to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in educational contexts. (GA3, GA5, GA8 GA9, GA10; APST: HA/L 4.4, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2)

LO2     Identify the prevalence, risk factors and indicators of harm and abuse in order to critically reflect upon, review and evaluate current practices. (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8 GA9, GA10; APST: HA/L 4.4, 6.2, 7.2)

LO3     Apply an understanding of the values and practices that contribute to the wellbeing and safety of children and young people through strategic, preventative and responsive planning with a particular focus on including the perspectives of educational professionals, children and young people. (GA1, GA5 GA9; APST: HA/L 4.4, 6.2, 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:

4.4       Maintain student safety (Highly Accomplished/Lead)

6.2       Engage in professional learning and improve practice (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: Context, values and beliefs; safety and wellbeing of children and young people

  • Topic 1: Reconsidering childhood
  • How do historical and contemporary prevailing values and ideas about children influence the ways that we identify and respond to abuse in schools and the community?
  • Topic 2: What role the child’s voice? (Part 1)
  • Considering and acting on children and young people’s perspectives on wellbeing, education and harm prevention.
  • Children’s perspectives on sensitive issues.

Module Two: Understanding child abuse in the context of school

  • Topic 1: The contemporary nature and scope of child abuse.
  • The prevalence and types of child abuse
  • Emerging trends and responses
  • Topic 2: Organisational factors and their influence
  • Emerging issues and safety concerns in schools and the community.
  • Exploring contemporary safety concerns for students and schools

Module Three: Identifying and responding to child abuse within the school context: Inclusive approaches

  • Topic 1: New and emerging risks for children and young people:
  • Contemporary issues and responses
  • Identifying and responding to child abuse within the school context
  • Topic 2: What role the child’s voice? (Part 2)
  • Enabling child-directed and child-respected responses to abuse and harm in schools?
  • Strategy to Action: Working with children in planning for prevention and response.

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

In order to successfully complete this unit, postgraduate students need to complete and submit two graded assessment tasks. The assessment strategy used allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and skill related to working with children and young people. The first task is a briefing paper related to an issue; the second task is a review of current practice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

(based on Modules 1 & 2)

Select a contemporary issue related to safeguarding children/young people from abuse and/or risk in schools.

Consider this issue from the perspective of context, values and beliefs relating to safety and wellbeing of children/young people.

Prepare a Briefing Paper and Presentation for school leadership and/or colleagues that:

1.    explores the issue and its relevance to safeguarding children in your context, and

2.    provides professional advice, which could inform a professional and organisational response to the issue in your context.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2 (Based on Module 3)

Review the effectiveness of current practices and understandings of creating a culture of safety within your school (or the system).

Examine and critique the values and ethical perspectives evident in these practices and understandings.

Identify and justify with reference to relevant contemporary literature, possible opportunities by outlining your vision for improving and fostering a culture of safety for students. 


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

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 (2017a). National safe schools framework. Retrieved from

Australian Government, Department of Education and Training. (2017b). Student wellbeing hub. Retrieved from

Allen, K., Kern, M. L., Vella-Brodrick, D., & Waters, L. (2017). School values: A comparison of academic motivation, mental health promotion and school belonging with student achievement. The Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 34(1), 31-47.

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.

Powell, M. A., & Graham, A. (2017). Wellbeing in schools: Examining the policy-practice nexus. The Australian Educational Researcher, 44(2), 213-231.

Rigby, K. (2017). How Australian parents of bullied and non-bullied children see their school responding to bullying. Educational Review.

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

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

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

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs