On 1 January 2023, the VRQA became the sole regulator of compliance with the new Child Safe Standards (including Ministerial Order No. 1359 – Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the Risk of Child Abuse in Schools and School Boarding Premises) for:
- registered schools
- registered school boarding premises
- school-sector organisations providing courses to overseas students
- student exchange organisations
- non-school senior secondary or foundation secondary providers
- registered training organisations (RTOs) who are regulated by the VRQA.
As part of these changes, the VRQA has additional legislative powers, including the power to issue a Notice to Produce documents or information, and a Notice to Comply.
If a notice is not complied with the VRQA can:
- apply to the Court for a Declaration of failing to comply, or an order to pay a pecuniary penalty
- issue an official warning that the VRQA suspects certain things, including a failure to comply with the Child Safe Standards
- prosecute a provider for the offence of failing to comply.
Where a provider is convicted or the Court makes a Declaration, the VRQA can apply to the Court for an adverse publicity order and publish details of the non-compliance on our website.
The changes also mean VRQA Authorised Officers for all its regulated education providers have the power to search premises, inspect and seize documents, and to observe and record activity at the premises.
Ensuring the safety of children and young people is paramount. The VRQA's regulatory approach is to assist providers to comply through guidance and support. However, where necessary, the VRQA will use its existing and new regulatory powers to ensure children and young people are learning in safe environments.
For more information, see: