Child safeguarding

Every child has the right to feel safe when participating in arts, cultural, community, sporting and recreation activities.

If you have an urgent concern about the safety, health or welfare of a child, contact emergency services on 000.

If you are a child or adult who has been the victim of child abuse, or if you have information about someone else being abused, you can contact police anytime on 131 444 and can request to speak to a member of the Child Abuse Squad.

If you have concerns for a child’s wellbeing, contact the Department of Communities on 1800 271 889.

All children are entitled to explore and enjoy life in a safe environment. Organisations that are involved in child-related work have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe from harm. Protecting children and young people from abuse, discrimination and harassment is a legal requirement and a moral obligation.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) has established a dedicated Child Safeguarding Implementation Unit to lead child safeguarding work across DLGSC, and support and build capability in local government, arts, cultural, sport and recreation organisations to embed child safe practices.

The unit can provide assistance to sectors to better understand child safety risks and support them to create child safe environments by implementing child safe practices.

The unit’s work is driven by the recommendations and findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

You can contact DLGSC’s Child Safeguarding Implementation Unit at

Making complaints or raising concerns

Please raise any complaints or concerns with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Raise a complaint or concern

Athlete Safeguarding Governance and Culture Review of the Western Australian Institute of Sport

The DLGSC have engaged KPMG Australia to conduct an Athlete Safeguarding Governance and Culture Review of the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS). This review will allow current and former athletes and staff from the past 5 years to share their experiences at WAIS.

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) was established in January 2013 to examine institutional responses to child abuse. In 2017, the Royal Commission made 409 recommendations aimed at preventing abuse from occurring and providing support for survivors of abuse.

State Government response

Of the 409 recommendations made by the Royal Commission, 310 are for the State Government to action. The findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission are extensive and require careful and thorough consideration.

Reform is a long-term commitment. The State Government is currently 5 years into a 10-year implementation plan with almost half of the recommendations completed. WA’s progress on implementation of Royal Commission recommendations is outlined in annual progress reports, the 2021 Progress Report is now available.

National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

In 2019, the Council of Australian Governments endorsed the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations which build on the 10 Child Safe Standards proposed by the Royal Commission. The National Principles have a broader scope that goes beyond child sexual abuse to cover other forms of potential harm to children and young people. The National Principles outline strategies an organisation should adopt to create a child safe culture, implement policies and processes that promote child wellbeing and work in ways that encourage the participation of children, young people and the broader community. The National Principles are focused on preventing abuse as well as developing systems that improve the identification and reporting of abuse if it occurs.

Independent oversight system

The Royal Commission recommended that organisations engaged in child related work or activities implement the Child Safe Standards and for implementation and compliance to be monitored and enforced by an independent oversight body.

The Department of the Premier and Cabinet is leading the work to develop a system of independent oversight that improves child safety in organisations.

Self-assessment against the National Principles

Organisations that undertake child-related work or activities have a responsibility to create a safe environment for children and young people.

When an organisation provides a safe environment, children and young people usually have more fun, are more engaged and are more likely to continue participating in the future.

DLGSC has adapted the Australian Human Rights Commission’s self-assessment tool to:

  • assist arts, cultural, community, sport and recreation organisations to reflect on their current child safe practices against the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
  • identify areas for improvement, to act and make positive changes.

The self-assessment tool is a resource that assists organisations to reflect upon and improve their child safe practices.

Resources for child safe organisations

The Commissioner for Children and Young People WA has developed a range of resources for organisations, their leaders, staff and volunteers that reflect the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. Information also includes guidance for children and young people on how to make a complaint and how an organisation can create a child-friendly complaints system.

The Safer WA for Children and Young People website provides information and resources on WA’s planned and completed reforms and initiatives to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations as well as advice for children, young people and the community to raise concerns and create safe environments.

Child safety in local government

The Royal Commission recommended (recommendation 6.12) that local governments should designate child safety officer positions from within existing staff profiles. The Department of Communities, in collaboration with DLGSC, is working with local governments and peak bodies to implement this recommendation in WA. This includes exploring ways to raise the awareness of child safety in the community by promoting child safe messages in local government venues.

Reportable Conduct Scheme

On 1 January 2023, a Reportable Conduct Scheme commenced in Western Australia.

Establishing a Reportable Conduct Scheme addresses recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The scheme compels heads of certain organisations, including DLGSC, to notify allegations of, or convictions for, child abuse by their employees, volunteers and contractors to the Ombudsman Western Australia (Ombudsman) and then investigate these allegations. The scheme applies to all roles within DLGSC, not just those that involve engagement in child related work.

To learn more about the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the Ombudsman has a range of information sheets available.

National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme was established in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The scheme provides survivors of institutional sexual abuse an alternative to civil litigation and offers 3 components of redress:

  • a monetary payment
  • access to counselling and psychological care
  • a direct personal response from the responsible institution.

DLGSC has an ongoing role in providing information and historical records to the scheme to facilitate the application process.

DLGSC and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet led an information and consultation process with the WA local government sector about the scheme. All 137 local governments resolved to join the National Redress Scheme in July 2020 as a participating institution within the State Government's amended declaration of participation.

Non-government institutions including arts, cultural, sporting, recreation and community organisations are required to join the scheme if they are named in a survivor’s application and notified by the scheme. The Commonwealth Government has implemented financial consequences for institutions who refuse to join the scheme which may include financial sanctions or removal of their charitable status.

Organisations that are part of a federated structure, such as affiliated state sporting associations, should discuss their willingness to join the scheme with their peak body.

Working With Children Checks 

The Working With Children (WWC) Check is a compulsory screening strategy in Western Australia and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands for people who engage in certain paid or unpaid work with children, described as “child-related work” under the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Amendment Act 2022.

The WWC Screening Unit, which is part of the Department of Communities, is responsible for administering the WWC Check.

Information on WWC Checks, including who needs them and how to apply, can be found on the WWC Check website.

On 1 July 2023, changes to the WWC legislation were introduced, strengthening protections for WA children.

Page reviewed 17 April 2024