QIP Safeguarding Standards for Children and Vulnerable Adults

QIP Standards for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Pilot Edition

QIP is undertaking a pilot program for the new QIP Standards for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults (The QIP Safeguarding Standards). This vitally important accreditation program is on track to be widely available in the second half of 2022. 

The QIP Safeguarding Standards will aim to proactively prevent sexual and other forms of abuse against children and vulnerable adults within organisational contexts.

What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the actions an organisation takes to protect the safety and wellbeing, and uphold the human rights of people who are connected with or affected by the work of that organisation.

It is particularly important for children and vulnerable adults because they may be more at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation than other people. 

While safeguarding is a broad term that refers to the full spectrum of protection, it is frequently understood to refer to protecting children and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse in an organisational setting.

Safeguarding is undertaken by organisations on a case-by-case and systemic basis. 

Background to the QIP Safeguarding Standards

In the years since Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2017), followed by the more recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety; and the ongoing Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, QIP identified the need for a set of independent, nationally consistent safeguarding standards that encompass the protection of vulnerable adults as well as children.

After more than two years of research and development by QIP's Safeguarding Team, under the direction of an expert advisory panel, QIP is pleased to now be in a position to be carrying out a pilot program with a select number of organisations for the pilot edition of the QIP Standards for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults (the QIP Safeguarding Standards).

In both an Australian and international setting, the QIP Safeguarding Standards are the first set of independent safeguarding standards developed for children and vulnerable adults that comprehensively adopt the Royal Commission's recommendations including the 10 National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Color image of a real life young physically impaired ALS patient spending time with his mother at home. He is happy.

The QIP Safeguarding Standards

The QIP Safeguarding Standards embody the expertise, values, and rigor of QIP’s 25+ years’ experience as a leading not-for-profit accreditation agency.

The core set of seven standards allows for proportionality and diversity – they can be scaled for different sized and different types of organisations without diluting their intent or integrity, nor the validity of the accreditation outcome.

The QIP Safeguarding Standards

 1. Governance, leadership and organisational culture

 2. Equity, diversity and cultural awareness

 3. Understanding rights and participation

 4. Participation of families, guardians, carers, support communities and the broader community

 5. Knowledge, skills, training and supervision

 6. Risk management

 7. Responding to complaints or concerns


The QIP Safeguarding Standards were mapped against and encompass the 10 National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (developed and endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in February 2019), which aim to give effect to all of the Royal Commission’s recommendations related to child safe standards and set out the Commonwealth Government's safeguarding expectations for Australian organisations working with children.

To ensure consistency with other key safeguarding frameworks, in developing the Safeguarding Standards, QIP also referenced the Victorian Child Safe Standards; the New South Wales Child Safe Standards; and the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards; as well as relevant international standards such as the ISQua Guidelines and Principles for the Development of Health and Social Care Standards, 5th edition, 2018; the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand – National Safeguarding Guidelines; and the Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland.

What will QIP Safeguarding Accreditation mean for organisations?

QIP Safeguarding Accreditation will signal transparency and accountability to organisations' and institutions' service users, their families and carers; stakeholders, and the wider community.

They can rest assured that the protection of the children and vulnerable adults in your care is considered a critical operational issue. Accreditation will ensure that safeguarding is systematically managed across all levels of your organisation – through high-quality governance, leadership and culture, and underpinned by leading practice safeguarding systems and processes. QIP Safeguarding Accreditation will validate the quality and qualifications of your staff and volunteers, and guide behaviour from the board to frontline workers.

QIP Safeguarding Accreditation will be third-party independently assessed assurance of the strength and validity of your safeguarding commitments, and that you are being held accountable to them.

What type of organisations are suitable for QIP Safeguarding Accreditation?

Our safeguarding standards have broad applicability. Any organisation or institution that provides services to children and/or vulnerable adults in any location across Australia can undertake QIP Safeguarding Accreditation. Some examples follow:

  • Religious institutions
  • Sport and recreation clubs
  • Social services providers (Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander support services, homeless care, outreach services)
  • Out of home and foster care services
  • Disability service providers
  • Childcare providers
  • Aged-care providers
  • Corrective services
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Allied healthcare facilities
  • Performance art schools and academies (circus, dance, theatre, etc)
  • Public and private educational institutions including primary, secondary, tertiary
  • Tuition and coaching services (academic, drama, music, sport, etc)
Young aboriginal students and their tutor taking a selfie together outdoors in Australia.

The standards allow for proportionality and diversity. They can be scaled for different sized and different types of organisations without diluting their intent, integrity, or the accreditation outcome.

We based the QIP Safeguarding Standards on the QIP-owned and operated QIC Health and Community Services Standards (the QIC Standards). The QIC Standards are now in their seventh edition and continue to play a key quality improvement role for hundreds of our health and human service client organisations across Australia. Applicable QIC Standards met indicators will be recognised and transferred to the Safeguarding Standards assessment.

Contact us to find out more or register interest in the QIP Safeguarding Standards

Why QIP developed the safeguarding standards

In Australia as it is around the world, safeguarding continues to be a critical issue for organisations, large and small, that provide services to children and vulnerable adults. Countless communities have been deeply scarred by individuals who have used their positions of power to perpetrate abuse and then be supported by their peers and superiors to silence the people and communities they have harmed.

The work of Australia’s ground-breaking Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2017) drew into sharp focus the way in which systemic failures led many organisations to overlook child sexual abuse.

The more recent Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability; and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety exposed the need for safeguarding improvements to also focus also on the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable adults.

The reports that emerged from each of the royal commissions included numerous personal stories describing the devastation wrought by abuse and laid bare terrible gaps in safeguarding frameworks.

QIP’s Board and Executive were stunned by the torrent of dreadful revelations. At the same time, were gratified by the federal and state bipartisan support for the broad and in-depth range of recommendations. The Board felt that QIP had a role to play in the groundswell of making the world safer and more accessible for vulnerable people of all ages by providing a pathway for organisations and institutions to achieve continuous improvement in and third-party independent assurance of the safeguarding of vulnerable people, regardless of age.

The QIP Safeguarding Accreditation process

  1. Register your interest online or by phone 1300 888 329 (you can register at any time prior to the program becoming operational in the second half of 2022)
  2. Self-assessment is completed internally, online via AccreditationPro to review the organisation against the Standards.
  3. Application for accreditation is completed by submitting the online self-assessment.
  4. Assessment is undertaken by an experienced QIP Assessor Team that conducts an on-site assessment. This process includes reviewing relevant documents and records, interviewing staff and observing the service environment. This is followed by submission of an assessment report to QIP.
  5. Decision by an independent QIP Accreditation Decision Maker is made. For organisations that meet the Standards, accreditation will be awarded for a three-year period.
  6. Monitoring supports the maintenance of your organisation’s compliance with the Standards throughout the accreditation period. During this stage, a mid-cycle review is conducted.
The QIP Safeguarding Accreditation Process

How QIP supports organisations

Tailored support

QIP has trained QIP Client Liaison Teams on hand to answer any questions clients may have about their accreditation, certification or verification. With expert knowledge of each of the standards or frameworks, evidence requirements and the self-assessment process, QIP’s Client Liaison Teams provide clients with on-going advice throughout their cycle.

Featured image of QIP staff

QIP’s accreditation hub

The QIP accreditation hub is an online platform tailored to each client’s individual accreditation timelines and framework requirements. It includes a personalised action plan, a resource library and a number of other features to support clients throughout their accreditation journey.

Access to AccreditationPro

QIP’s online self-assessment software, known as AccreditationPro, streamlines accreditation preparation by helping clients determine their organisation’s compliance with an applicable set of Standards.

Person at laptop on AccreditationPro

Access to online resources and education

QIP’s online Education and Resource Library, provides clients with access to a range of practical, informative and customisable resources to support organisations in complying with the relevant industry Standards.

Regular news and e-newsletters

Stay up-to-date with industry and organisational news, helpful tips and your standards information with QIP communications including periodical e-newsletters advising of any changes to processes, systems, standards or evidence requirements are released.

Highly trained assessment teams

QIP’s Assessors are highly trained and qualified peer assessors who work across the Australian health, community and human services sectors. Our team will share their knowledge and support organisations through the accreditation assessment.

Image of AGPAL Surveyors

Celebrating the achievement of accreditation

Achieving QIP accreditation takes dedication, team work and a commitment to continuous quality improvement. When organisations achieve their accredited, certificated or verified status, they are provided with their own 'Promotional Toolkit' filled with a number of materials to celebrate and promote this achievement.

The QIP Accredited Symbol is one way consumers and local community can be reassured that an organisation has been recognised for their commitment to delivering a safe and quality-focused service.

Image of QIP Accredited Symbol

Become part of our online community

Join us on social media to celebrate organisation achievements made within the health, community and human services sectors and to be kept up-to-date with the latest industry news and events, including QIP and AGPAL updates.

LinkedIn IconTwitter IconFacebook Icon

Contact us to find out more or register for the QIP Safeguarding Accreditation Program