April 2, 2023

Child Safe Standards FAQs

Sillouette ofJunior Golfer in action during a tournament

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended ten (10) child safe standards, to apply consistently across organisations engaged in child-related work. These standards will help clubs and associations to achieve and maintain a child safe culture where the best interests of children and their protection from harm is the highest priority. From 1 February 2022, these standards are now a legislative requirement. Golf NSW, Jack Newton Junior Golf (JNJG) and our Affiliates must now show how we are implementing the Child Safe Standards. This Frequently Asked Questions page has been prepared to assist clubs and associations in understanding these standards and how to implement them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The Office of the Children’s Guardian and Office of Sport have developed eLearning to help sports clubs to implement the Child Safe Standards. These courses are designed specifically for clubs like yours, so we encourage you to use them. They are completely free.

When signing up for the course, make sure you complete the course named “Child Safe Sport eLearning”. There are other courses on the OCG eLearning page but you should only complete the one with sport in the title.

To be ‘chid safe’ your organisation will need to have policies and practices in place which address the standards. It will be important to adopt multiple strategies to address child safety. Organisations are encouraged to share messages about how they are implementing the Child Safe Standards.

By virtue of Affiliation to Golf NSW and JNJG, clubs and associations adopt and have access to a range of policies which meet the Child Safe Standards. These include the Child Safe Standards and Member Protection Standards. We encourage affiliated clubs and associations to familiarise themselves with these policies. Create your own and include all of ours (do not remove anything) and ensure everyone in their organisation, including members and their families, understand how they operate in practice.  

Yes. From 1 February 2022, these standards are now a legislative requirement. Golf NSW and our affiliates must now show how we are implementing the Child Safe Standards.

The standards exist in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This Royal Commission recommended 10 child safe standards, to apply consistently across organisations engaged in child-related work. These standards will help clubs and associations to achieve and maintain a child safe culture where the best interests of children and their protection from harm is the highest priority. The findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse can be found here.

Golf NSW, JNJG, and the Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) are committed to assisting clubs and associations to begin to imbed the standards within their organisation through resources, training, and support. 

To support organisations in implementing the Child Safe Standards, the OCG is taking expressions of interest for introductory webinars on the background and implementation of the standards. If you are interested, please reach out to Matt Sibley, the Child Safe Officer for Sport at Matt.Sibley@ocg.nsw.gov.au.

The OCG also has a range of useful resources which will assist your organisation to become child safe. We encourage all affiliates to review and utilise the various resources available here.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss any of the information in this document further please contact the Golf NSW/JNJG Member Protection team: 

Enforcement will take a responsive, risk-based approach. The OCG have indicated that monitoring will be strengths—based and focused on outcomes, not prescriptive compliance.  Enforcement will be used in circumstances where organisations are not willing to implement the Child Safe Standards and there are risks to children.  This may result in the OCG issuing either an Enforceable Undertaking or Compliance Notice. For the majority of organisations the focus will be on capability building and support.

For further information on the 10 standards, their purpose, and how they apply to your organisation, please refer to the OCG’s guide to the standards at: Guide to the Child Safe Standards (nsw.gov.au). The OCG has also created a helpful video summary of the standards which can be found at:

We encourage all interested members of your organisation to watch this video.

Further to this the OCG will be releasing a range of resources, guides, and webinars throughout the year which can be found at this link.

No, definitely not. We are encouraging our clubs and associations not to panic. It is highly likely that you are already meeting the standards and taking steps to make your organisation child safe. These standards are not about creating additional work, but rather about encouraging organisations to embed child safety into their everyday practices and decision-making. These standards are a framework under which we can all develop our policies and procedures to ensure that the protection of harm is at the forefront of every decision we make in the course of activities we are already doing. There are lots of support in place from the OCG and Golf NSW/JNJG to make this an easy process with great outcomes for our organisations.

The OCG and Golf NSW/JNJG will be focusing on the following standards in 2023:

  • Standard 1 – Child Safety is embedded in organisational leadership, governance, and culture.
  • Standard 6 – Processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child focused.
  • Standard 8 – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved.
  • Standard 10 – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe.

Through training resources and education sessions, both the OCG and Golf NSW/JNJG will be supporting your organisation to recognise the steps you need to take to implement these standards.  Many of these standards will be met through things your organisation is already doing.

  1. Review the Golf NSW/JNJG’s Child Safe Standards resources.
  2. Get all club leaders to complete the eLearning. Try to put things in place and engage with any of the other OCG resources.
  3. Utilise the OCG resources available here to begin to review the Child Safe Practices within your organisation and to promote the Child Safe Standards within your golf community. This includes taking the time to understand your reporting obligations.
  4. Ensuring that all persons engaged in direct unsupervised contact with children have a valid and verified Working With Children Check (WWCC), and that recruitment practices within your organisation are thorough.
  5. Keep an eye out for notifications from the OCG and Golf NSW/JNJG about various resources and training opportunities which will be released throughout the year. Child Safe Officers are also available to run specific training sessions for clubs and associations. Register your interest by clicking here, or contacting Matt Sibley, Child Safe Officer (Sport), by emailing Matt.Sibley@ocg.nsw.gov.au.
  6. Contact the Golf NSW/JNJG Member Protection team or the OCG if you have any questions or require additional support.  
  7. Please reach out to mark.ingrey@golfnsw.org.au if you have any questions about implementing this policy within your organisation or how this applies to you. Like all policies, this should be made publicly accessible to members of your organisation.

All persons who have or may have unsupervised contact with children should be required within your organisation to hold a valid WWCC. This includes but is not limited to coaches, team managers, physios, and other support persons.

If a person does not have direct supervised contact a WWCC is not necessary. This might include referees, members of the executive who do not hold other roles, and/or team managers who are not likely to be unsupervised with a team.

Yes.  A Working with Children Check number does not tell you whether an individual is cleared to work with children. You must verify them as your employee/volunteer to obtain their status. When you verify, the Office of the Children’s Guardian knows you are their employer. Therefore, if their status to work with children ever changes, you would be informed. If you do not verify, you will not find out if they become barred.

Organisations can verify Working with Children Checks here.

Recruitment is the first defence against child abuse. It is important that organisations make sure their recruitment process is formalised and applies to all roles where there may be direct unsupervised contact with children or young people. Organisations are encouraged to develop appropriate, child centric selection criteria for roles and ensure all people engaged in child related work have valid and verified WWCCs. Golf NSW/JNJG Child Safe Standard contains a variety of template questions that clubs and associations may find useful in this process. Below are some examples of steps your organisation should consider in the recruitment process:

  • Include a commitment to child safety in your role advertisements.
  • Make it clear that child related roles are subject to WWCC requirements.
  • Hold interviews or informal discussions for all potential candidates.
  • Ask applicants about their understanding of appropriate behaviours when dealing with children.
  • Conduct reference checks where possible. This can include contacting their previous club/employer.

It would depend on how they operate. The key question for a club to ask is, “is this coach our club’s coach/teaching pro, or are they a coach who is at our club sometimes?”

  1. A coach working exclusively with adults will not need a working with children check at all.

  2. Private coaches with no relationship to the club, the club will not need to verify their check. They should have a WWCC if they work with children, and the child’s parent/carer should be verifying their check. Essentially, the parent takes on the role of employer when they engage a private coach. More information for parents and carers can be found at: https://ocg.nsw.gov.au/parents-and-carers/what-parents-need-know-about-working-children-check

    From the club’s perspective, they may want some oversight of this coach in terms of how they are interacting with children and using club facilities. While they are operating on the course, even if they are not formally coaching for the club, the club can still set behavioural expectations for them.

  3. If the club has a formal arrangement with the coach, the club should be verifying the coach as they are working out of the club.

    In these cases, the club and teaching pro want to be closely integrated in what they do and how they do it. The teaching pro will likely have their own additional rules for how they teach. It is reasonable to expect them to also adhere to the club rules.

If a club has school kids doing their work experience in the Pro Shop, is it okay to have one staff member working with them? If not is this more the school responsibility or is it the clubs?

It would be something the Pro Shop could discuss with the school beforehand. Schools tend to have pretty robust complaints mechanisms for children, so the child can handle those issues through their school. The school may also provide some child safety guidelines to any work experience supervisors. There are certainly no legal issue with the situation, but the Pro Shop may want their own guidelines for staff around what is/is not okay with the work experience child.

Definitely not. Hospitality staff might serve children from time to time, but they are not child-related in terms of their work. Even if children perhaps wait in the restaurant for their parents to come pick them up, it is a pretty open area.

If a club has a separate contractor/caterer in the clubhouse running the restaurant/café does the club need that contractor/caterer to do any of the training and have a WWCC?

WWCC is not needed. Training is also not required; however it is a good idea to get them to do the Office of Children’s Guardian eLearning Module 1. The module is nice and quick and gives them an idea of what could be concerns if they see children around the club. In terms of the club, they would want to have clear guidelines for all contractors and non-child-related staff of what to do if a child a)  interacts with them, and b) discloses something concerning or complains. Not just restaurant, but your greenkeeper and maintenance staff. They do not need extensive training, just the basic knowledge of who to go to with a child-related issue, or not to be put into a position that can put themselves at risk of complaints.

When teaching a junior it is important that you are in open areas where other adults can see you. This supervision keeps you and the child safe. Some indoor facilities can be very private. In order not to be alone with a child, it is advised you have a parent present or another staff member to be in a position to see the lesson.

A single adult should not be left alone to supervise children. It is important to have more than one adult present so that the adults can monitor the conduct of the junior members. The Adults can also monitor each other’s conduct toward children. Therefore, junior playing groups should consist of two (2) adult members and two (2) junior members, or three (3) adult members and one (1) junior member.

Golf NSW/JNJG have developed three posters that should be on display in all NSW/ACT golf clubs. They are:

  1. The “You have the right to feel safe” poster template [DOWNLOAD].
    View Golf NSW/JNJG’s “You have the right to feel safe” poster
    (You can add a photo of your club’s Member Protection Information Officer [MPIO] so that children know who is there to listen to them if they feel unsafe.)

  2. The “Locker room behaviour” poster template. [DOWNLOAD]
    View Golf NSW/JNJG’s “Locker room behaviour” poster.

  3. “We care about you” poster template [DOWNLOAD].
    Golf NSW/JNJG “We care about you” poster

  4. Child Safety Commitment poster template [DOWNLOAD]
    The “Golf NSW/JNJG Child Safety Commitment” poster.

It is important that our sport is welcoming and makes everyone feel safe and comfortable. Therefore, there are two (2) rules that every club should enforce without exceptions in locker rooms: 

  1. Under no circumstances should anyone have their mobile device out in a changing room. They should stay in your pocket or bag at all times.
  2. All members must limit nudity. Towels should be worn when going to/from shower areas. Always be considerate of others using the area.

An adult should never engage in one-to-one communication with a child. Think of online communication the same way we think of being alone and unsupervised with a child in-person. All communication with children should also include their parent/carer and/or club staff.  That way, all communications have another set of eyes supervising.

Yes. If children do not know the rules, they do not know when an adult is breaking the rules. It is important that children know how their coach and other adults are meant to behave, including online communication.

  • Many clubs have said these exact words only to have a serious issue arise that these measures could prevent
  • Implementing the standards is much easier than dealing with police/media after an incident that the standards could have prevented.

The OCG Guides to Risk Management includes a template in Volume 1, as well as the steps in the process to conduct Risk Management.  Additionally, Module 3 of the Child Safe eLearning is completely devoted to Risk.

Key areas to think about where some activities, locations, scenarios that tend to be at risk in golf clubs are: changing areas, car parks, equipment and maintenance sheds, secluded holes, one-on-one coaching, playing groups with adults and children, indoor coaching facilities to name a few.

Typically, the Pro Shop staff won’t need a WWCC regardless of the hours they work. They are working retail and their contact would be incidental with children. The exception would be if the Pro Shop staff were also running coaching clinics and the like with children, or other programs for children. Typically, their contact should be limited and it is more of a policy matter to ensure they are not in compromising situations.

If an employee needs to contact a staff member that is under 18 should another adult also be included in that communication chain?

The Ten (10) Child Safe Standards are only really monitoring how adults deliver services to children. Children as employees are not actually within the scheme; is more in a Human Resource (HR) area. However, there is a good argument for a club to use a blanket policy for contacting any minors whether they be club members or employees. That way, staff are not learning one set of rules for players and another for young staff members. Less confusion means easier to follow the rules. But technically, managing staff who are minors is a supervising/HR issue rather than a Child Safe Standards one.

An additional note, we do not expect minors to keep other minors safe. Rather, any minor working with other children should be adequately supervised and managed. E.g., a 17 year-old working the reception at a golf club, or who is helping out with coaching, their ability to handle a child safety issue would extend to knowing to get an older staff member to handle the situation for them.

Will there be some kind of logo that a club can put on their website or junior page stating they are ’10 Child Safe Standards’ compliant?

The OCG does not accredit or certify anyone that they are ‘child safe’. Some private sector businesses in the child safety industry give out certificates, etc. The reality is, they do not really carry any weight. Instead, the OCG encourages clubs to show how child safe they are through their actions. Examples include displaying posters to promote child safety, place documents and policies on the website for transparency, engage in conversations with children and families, and let them know how the club handles concerns from children and families.

Clubs should get credit for doing the good things they do. This becomes part of marketing to families, which can help increase participation rates by attracting more families. The public messaging can also be clear to would-be applicants that this club has rules and follows them.