Understanding risk factors for unsafe environments

You need to feel confident that your child is being cared for by trained, experienced and competent providers who value and provide a safe environment for your child (whether they in an organisation or are an individual contractor).


As well as understanding the strategies and structures that support safe and enriching environments, you should also understand the risk factors for unsafe experiences.

For example:

  • knowing what bullying is,
  • knowing when adequate care is not being provided,
  • being aware of inappropriate physical responses,
  • being alert to when activities can become abusive.
Risk assessments

You will probably hear the term risk assessment used. A risk assessment in relation to children means a process to assess and evaluate risks and threats to the safety of a child.

Providers collect and analyse information to determine whether the presence of risk factors may indicate an increased likelihood of harm to a child.

This could trigger a referral to a specialist trained in assessing the presence of risk and knowing what action is required. More information about family risk assessments can be found at  https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/assessment/family-assess/safety/



Finding out more assessing risk. 
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The questions you could ask to find out more about assessing risk include:

  • Are staff trained in how to promote children’s safety and how does this occur?
  • Are they trained in how to recognise abuse and neglect and how does this occur?
  • Do staff and volunteers receive regular training about different forms of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual, and financial and neglect?
  • Are staff and volunteers provided with training regarding risk factors for children with disability being placed in situations where they are not safe?
  • Are all staff included i.e. those providing direct care but also those providing other activities and/or those working in the organisation in non-direct care roles?