About Us

Child safeguarding

Every day in the delivery of our programmes, departmental staff and service providers come into contact with children and families.

We provide services in every Australian state and territory and in more than 60 countries across the world.

Children receiving immigration services can be among the most vulnerable people we engage with. We require clear principles, policies and procedures for staff and service providers to safeguard their protection and wellbeing.

Child Safeguarding Framework

We have released the Child Safeguarding Framework (755KB PDF) (the framework) to outline the principles, policies and procedures for staff and contracted service providers to safeguard children who receive its services.

We all share a responsibility to protect vulnerable children, and the framework outlines our commitment and the steps we will take to safeguard children who receive immigration services from abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The development of the framework has been a focus of the independent Child Protection Panel.

Child safeguarding principles

Through the framework’s implementation, children in immigration programmes including across the immigration detention network, will have better consistency of services and care. They will be supported by staff who are appropriately trained to deal with child specific incidents, and through better coordination, they will be placed in the safest possible environment.

Recognising that children are inherently vulnerable, the following nine principles will guide the Department’s actions and attitudes and form the basis of our child safeguarding culture:

  1. We promote a strong, open and proactive culture that encourages awareness of child protection and wellbeing and does not tolerate child abuse.
  2. Children and their families are included in decision making, where possible.
  3. The safety and wellbeing of children is the shared responsibility of their parents and families. We work to support their self-agency in parenting.
  4. We and our contracted service providers collaborate to manage the safeguarding and wellbeing of children in our programmes.
  5. All children, their families and carers understand and are aware of safe and accessible mechanisms to report any complaints, concerns or allegations of child abuse.
  6. The welfare of a child who has been or is alleged to have been, abused is a primary consideration in decision making.
  7. All child protection and wellbeing incidents, allegations and complaints are responded to, and reported, consistent with state and territory legislation and internal departmental reporting requirements.  All incidents are managed in a timely and effective manner, ensuring appropriate support is provided to all parties in accordance with the triple track approach.
  8. We ensure appropriate care and welfare arrangements are in place for unaccompanied minors who arrive in Australia without a parent or legal guardian.
  9. We and our contracted service providers keep accurate and accountable records to support child safeguarding.

Who will use the Child Safeguarding Framework?

The framework applies to all departmental staff and contracted service providers involved in the support, care and welfare of children and their families in Australia’s immigration programmes.

It is particularly relevant to people whose work might impact on a child’s overall wellbeing, including those who do not have direct contact with children such as those working in policy, legal areas and human resources.

The framework is designed to be applied flexibly across the different departmental programmes and services, and to complement the range of existing policies and procedural frameworks.