News & Media

Review of CFA Child Protection Policy and Practice

By: sherri mckerley

Category: Health & Safety, Youth & Juniors

  3.17 PM 19 January, 2016

Location: General

Views: 1944

Invitation to participate in review

Have you been following the proceedings of the Royal Commission into institutional child abuse? Do you know what were identified as the main failures of these institutions?

A lack of understanding or application of policy and procedures, poor leadership and governance, inadequate screening practices or an imbedded culture of secrecy, fear and avoidance.

Are you aware of what the current child abuse statistics are?

In 2014-15 the Australian Government reported 54,000 substantiated cases of child abuse (sexual, physical, emotional and neglect) Nationwide. The majority of these occurring in the family home or in out of home care, but a staggering 10,000 cases where outside of this in schools, community groups and programs targeting children.

What does this have to do with CFA?

Many people often refer to CFA as a family, where we welcome everyone and look out for each other. Many others see CFA as the centre of community. We also have 3500 members under 18, and interact with 1000s more children through our day to day work.

Do we have concerns in CFA?

If CFA is truly representative of the community and statistics are that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will experience some form of abuse in their life time, then it stands to reason that we do. That is not to say that abuse is occurring at our brigades, but it is most definitely happening to some of our young members. And if it’s one of yours, wouldn’t you want to know how to help them?

So why conduct a review?

Although CFA is only required by law to conduct Working with Children Checks (WWCC) on our Junior Leaders child protection is not just a concern for brigades with Juniors Members. Providing a safe environment for all children who come into contact with CFA is of equal importance, as CFA is also actively involved with children in programs such as JFAIP (Juvenile Fire Awareness Intervention Program) Fire Safe Kids, Fire Safe Youth, Mobile Education Unit, Advance and VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Advanced Learning), or through public presentations, emergency response, festivals and CFA family events

CFA takes its interaction with, and protection of children, very seriously.

For child abuse to cease, everyone in CFA is required to act if they are aware of the abuse of a child…it’s not somebody else’s role.

That said we recognise that in order for people to confidently manage and report issues in relations to child protection, we need to ensure that every member has access to information, knows what to do and knows where to go for help. Having policies and procedures that sit somewhere on the intranet, that no one uses or understands is of very little use in protecting children and the volunteers who work with them.

Therefore CFA has made the decision to be proactive rather than reactive to these concerns and has recently commissioned a review of our policy and practice in regards to child protection.

“You don’t have to work directly with children to participate. Every member has a role to play in the protection of children and all feedback is valuable. I encourage everyone to contribute to a thorough outcome by participating in the review” says Kate Harrap ED Learning and Volunteerism.

How will the review be conducted?

The review will include wide consultation with staff and volunteers across the state, via the following survey and through one on one and group discussions. CFA will then be presented with a number of recommendations that will enable us to better protect children whilst participating in our organisation.

All survey results and interview responses will be handled independently by Ernst & Young, with confidentiality and sensitivity to ensure accurate and useful information is gathered. Information and recommendations provided to CFA will be of a generic nature and will not include individual names and circumstances.

“You can complete the survey online or come and visit us in the corporate marquee at the state championships, where staff will be on hand to assist or answer any questions” Says Kate

Anyone who would like further information or wishes to contribute in further detail in this review can contact Sherri McKerley on (03) 9262 8670 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To complete the survey go to:


Survey Registration Instructions


As noted above, all responses are strictly confidential and will not be attributed to individuals.  However, the survey does require all individuals to log in with their email address to ensure that no duplicate surveys are submitted. 

1.   Click on the link provided above to proceed to the survey

2.   The survey page will load, please register by clicking the ‘register link’ on the page.

3.  After the page loads up, please fill out your email address (which will serve as your   username for the survey) and password.  Passwords must have at least 7 characters, with at least one uppercase, one lowercase and one number.

4.   Once you have registered, please log in with the registered credentials.

5.  Once logged in, please provide the survey password (this is different to your registration password). Survey password (case sensitive) = ChildPlace1

6.  Please note that your survey session(s) will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity. You must click the Back, Save and Exit, or Next buttons to prevent the session timeout and loss of data.

If you have any questions regarding accessing and completing the survey please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last Updated: 23 March 2016