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Key Milestones

Australia has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which explicitly identifies that children have a right to be heard and kept safe from harm.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse of 2015 examined what makes an organisation child safe. It highlighted the need to provide an environment in which children and young people are safe, protected and respected, and where personnel have the skills, confidence and knowledge to safeguard children. Defence’s vision is for its engagement with youth to be conducted in an environment that safeguards their health, protection and wellbeing and in a manner, that delivers a positive experience.  Defence was not directly the subject of any specific recommendations from the Royal Commission; however nine systemic issues in Defence were identified in Case Study 40, which have been addressed. Subsequently, Defence created the Defence Youth Safety Framework in December 2015.

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations give effect to the Royal Commission’s recommendations relating to child safe standards and provide guidance on key actions and performance measures in implementing the standards.

In response to the Royal Commission, the Australian Government introduced the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, a whole-of-government policy that sets minimum standards for creating and embedding a child safe culture and practice in Commonwealth entities. This Commonwealth Child Safe Framework explicitly outlines what organisations are expected to do, to protect youth from harm.

Defence remains committed to ongoing cultural reform, ensuring that its policies and practices are consistent with the National Principles and that the young people Defence engage with are safe.

Key Milestones
  • 2013
  • Youth Policy Manual developed - YOUTHPOLMAN
  • 2015
  • Launch of the Defence Youth Safety Framework
  • 2016
  • Oct
  • e-Learning Defence Youth Safety Level 1 - Awareness
  • 2017
  • Jan
  • Co-location of the ADF Cadets organisatiosn to the Headquarters in Canberra
  • Mar
  • e-Learning Defence Youth Safety Level 2 - Practitioner
  • May
  • Launch of new YOUTHHQ website and YOUTHPOLMAN published to the external site to improve accessibility
  • Mar-Jul
  • Stand-up of the ADF cadets Headquarters - One Cadet model
  • Aug
  • e-Learning Defence Youth Safety Training
    1. Level 3 - Leader
    2. Level 6 - Young Adult and Youth
  • 2020
  • YOUTHPOLMAN review - Part 1: Guidance for Defence and the ADF Cadets programs
  • 2021
  • YOUTHPOLMAN review - Part 2: ADF Cadets
  • 2022
  • YOUTHPOLMAN review - Part 3: Work Experience Program