Lesson 19: Child Protection Legislation (SA)


  • All organisations within South Australia, including sport and recreation organisations, are required under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 to establish policies and procedures for ensuring that child safe environments are established and maintained within the organisations.
  • Child safe environment strategies are put in place to prevent and minimise opportunities for child abuse within an organisation, including preventing offenders from gaining access to that organisation. Strategies include ensuring staff and volunteers understand their child protection obligations and that staff and volunteers and know who to go to should they have suspicions a child may be at risk of harm.
  • For further information see Child Safe Environments: Principles of Good Practice, available from the Department for Child Protection website.

Vicarious liability

  • Vicarious liability describes the principle in law which says that, depending on the circumstances, an organisation can be held responsible for the behaviour of its employees (including staff, volunteers and contractors), unless:
  • it can be shown that all reasonable steps were taken to prevent the behaviour from happening in the first place
  • there were appropriate policies and procedures in place for dealing with the behaviour when it occurred.
  • The same principle applies to governing bodies and clubs.

Mandatory reporting

  • Sporting personnel need to be aware that because of the large number of children participating in sport and the closeness of relationships formed, they may come across children being abused or who disclose their abuse to them. This abuse may be occurring within or outside of sport.
  • All staff and volunteers of sport and recreation groups in South Australia are regarded as mandated notifiers. As such, they are required by law to make a confidential report to Families SA if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is being abused or neglected, and this suspicion is formed in the course of their voluntary or paid work.

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