Our commitment to child safety
CSIRO is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people involved in our activities and programs. We have zero tolerance for child abuse, neglect, and exploitation. We strive to create an environment where all children and young people are safe, feel valued, and have their rights upheld. Although working with children and young people is not our core function, it is critical to CSIRO’s vision to create a better future for Australia and inspire future scientists.
CSIRO and its people recognise their responsibility, individually and collectively, to prevent child abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Child safety and wellbeing are essential in our organisational leadership, governance and culture. We acknowledge our people's ongoing commitment, support, and cooperation to protect and safeguard children and young people.
CSIRO’s interactions with children and young people
CSIRO is a large and diverse organisation with approximately 8,100 employees and affiliates working across 53 sites throughout Australia and globally. For nearly 40 years, CSIRO Education and Outreach (CEdO) have been developing and delivering high-quality science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) programs for teachers, students, and the wider community. Our CEdO professionals and researchers offer a range of programs designed to bring real science to life to over 160,000 children and young people annually in classrooms and communities. Our people also participate in activities involving children and young people, including tours of our laboratories, facilities, and collections; school visits, outreach, and work experience programs; scientific research trials; community events; and social media and publications interactions.
Annual risk assessment
To minimise the risk of harm to children and young people, we have established a Child Safe Office, the central point of contact for expert knowledge and advice regarding child safeguarding matters within CSIRO. A review of CSIRO child-related risks has been undertaken to ensure that existing and emerging risks to children and young people are identified, and mitigation strategies are appropriate and aligned with best practices. An internal all-staff survey informed the risk assessment, identifying child-related interactions and frequency.
Key risks to children arising from our activities and programs are related to the application of legislation, policies and guidelines which support children’s wellbeing and protection; child safety culture and awareness; services and programs informed by children and their experiences; appropriately trained, qualified workforce compliant with mandatory obligations; and effective identification, reporting and management of child-related incidents. The overall risk rating for CSIRO has been assessed to be medium. This rating is based on the residual likelihood that people may not comply with requirements and CSIRO’s policy and controls that identify, manage, and mitigate these risks.
The Child Safe Office raises awareness of the requirements and responsibilities of our people and third-party contractors through education, training, and support mechanisms. To further promote organisational compliance in the 2021-22 reporting period with the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework (CCSF), CSIRO:
- Published policies and procedures, including directions on compliance with the CCSF and including child safe clauses in procurement and contract documentation.
- Updated our Code of Conduct mandatory training to ensure our framework of ethics and values for CSIRO people includes child safe behaviours and responsibilities.
- Made e-learning modules available for CSIRO people containing child safe information to raise awareness and clarify expectations that support a child safe culture and mitigate risk.
- Commenced a review of child-related positions and their associated requirements, including working with children checks and training.
- Worked to improve local processes for managing risks to children.
CSIRO acknowledges that managing child safety risks is an ongoing process, and our measures to mitigate risks are assessed regularly and reviewed. As we improve our child safe practices, we will endeavour to embed a child safe culture where children and young people are at the forefront of what our people do and every decision they make.
CSIRO’s child safety initiatives
During the 2021-22 reporting period, we consolidated our child safe activities by establishing the Child Safe Office, increasing awareness and compliance with the CCSF focussing on:
|2021-22 Child Safe Focus Areas||CCSF Req|
|Engagement with relevant stakeholders, both internal and external to government, to introduce our Child Safe Office, share and discuss opportunities and challenges and seek suggestions for education, training, and resources.||1,2,3|
|Internal communication and change program to raise awareness of the CCSF and other requirements. Initiatives included the celebration and promotion of National Child Protection Week.||3|
|Interactive workshops and information sessions to raise awareness of the Child Safe Office and compliance with the CCSF; increase knowledge and recognition of signs of abuse, harm and neglect, protective factors, trauma, emotional wellbeing, offending and grooming.||2,3|
|Improving guidance for planning child-related activities (face-to-face and virtual), including mandating risk assessments.||1,2,3|
|Increasing awareness of requirements when managing, storing, and using data relating to children and young people.||2,3|
CSIRO acknowledges that a child safe culture, where children and young people are central to our thinking, requires ongoing commitment. Over the next 12 months, our Child Safe Office will continue to implement child safety measures to increase compliance and alignment with the CCSF focussing on:
|2022-23 Child Safe Focus Areas||CCSF Req|
|External implementation audit to assess and analyse the scope of our key risks and gaps and develop a road map, including recommendations, to increase compliance and further develop as a child safe organisation.||1,2,3|
|Development of a fit-for-purpose case management system and central Working with Children/Vulnerable People Register.||1,2,3|
|Identification of child safety champions to advocate our child safe practices and culture throughout CSIRO, raising awareness of our requirements.||3|
|Delivery of tailored training to our people, who work directly with children and young people, to increase knowledge of reporting requirements, recognising threats, abuse or harm to children and young people, trauma-informed practices, legislation, cultural considerations and safety.||1,2,3|
|Development of practice tools for children and young people (such as informed consent) enabling their participation in decisions about them.||2,3|
|Consult with children, young people, and key stakeholders to implement cultural safety competencies within our Child Safe Policy and related guidance.||1,3|
|Conduct forums to provide opportunities for children and young people to participate in decisions affecting them within the context of their interactions within CSIRO.||1,3|
Commonwealth Child Safe Framework Compliance
Undertake risk assessments annually in relation to activities of the entity, to identify the level of responsibility for, and contact with, children, evaluate risks to child safety and put in place appropriate strategies to manage identified risks
CSIRO is fully compliant: The annual risk assessment was undertaken to identify existing and emerging risks to children and ensure mitigation strategies are appropriate and aligned with best practices.
Establish and maintain a system of training and compliance, to make staff aware of and compliant with the Framework and relevant legislation, including Working with Children Checks / Working with Vulnerable People Checks and mandatory reporting requirements
CSIRO is fully compliant: CSIRO has established procedures and processes for child safety training, risk assessments, third-party procurement, mandatory reporting and other legislative reporting requirements, and management of our Working with Children and Vulnerable Person checks. Our Child Safe Office is improving our systems to increase compliance and developing evidence-based education and training for our people and third-party providers.
Adopt and implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
CSIRO is working towards compliance: CSIRO is committed to the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (National Principles) and is in the early stages of developing a child safe culture. The CSIRO Board and leadership are committed to building and maintaining, through good governance, a culture of child safety to lower the risk of harm to children. We have demonstrated this by establishing our Child Safe Office and implementing Child Safe Policies and procedures to raise awareness, understanding and compliance. The Child Safe Office is partnering with Child Wise to develop additional E-learning modules to improve awareness and compliance with the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, including the National Principles.
Publish an annual statement of compliance with the Framework including an overview of the entity’s child safety risk assessment (conducted under Requirement One)
CSIRO is fully compliant: CSIRO has published the 2021-22 Annual Compliance Statement and is committed to regularly reviewing and monitoring our compliance with the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework.
We invite comments on our annual compliance statement to support accountability and transparency as CSIRO continues to mature as a Child Safe Organisation to email@example.com.