In response to the Betrayal of Trust report the Victorian Government is strengthening laws to protect our children from sexual abuse and exposure to sexual offenders. This is in recognition of the shared community responsibility to protect children from abuse and to provide a safe environment for children to develop, learn and play. Sporting clubs are one of the identified groups that hold a responsibility to ensure their environment is safe.
A new criminal offence for failing to protect a child under the age of 16 from a risk of sexual abuse will commence on 1 July 2015. The offence will apply where there is a substantial risk that a child under the age of 16 under the care, supervision or authority of a relevant organisation will become a victim of a sexual offence committed by an adult associated with that organisation.
A person in a position of authority in the organisation will commit the offence if they know of the risk of abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently fail to do so.
This offence will encourage organisations to actively manage the risks of sexual offences being committed against children in their care and further protect them from harm.
Clubs are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Betrayal of Trust Factsheet and ensure they are following laws around Working With Children Checks and implementing apprpropiate Codes of Conduct for relevant volunteers.