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Complaint Handling Guide: Upholding the rights of children and young people

  • Guide

Volume 7 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Final Report, Improving institutional responding and reporting, identified flaws in how some institutions responded to complaints of child sexual abuse including instances where institutions did not have clear complaint handling policies and procedures. In light of these findings, Principle 6 of the National Principles states that organisations should have processes to respond to complaints and concerns that are child-focused and uphold the rights of children and young people.

To support organisations to build their capacity in handling complaints involving children and creating child safe cultures, the National Office commissioned the Office of the NSW Ombudsman to develop the Complaint Handling Guide: Upholding the rights of children and young people (the Guide).

The Office of the NSW Ombudsman developed the Guide through a national consultation process involving the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission and children’s guardians, commissioners and ombudsman’s offices across Australia.

The Guide provides practical advice to organisations about how to develop, implement and maintain a complaint-handling system that prioritises child safety and promotes the rights of children and young people to have a voice in decisions that affect them. 

The Guide is divided into nine guidelines, each addressing key aspects of an effective complaint-handling process and system. The Guide is also accompanied by an information sheet and reference guide to support organisations of all sizes navigate the material.


The Guide contains a range of appendices that support organisations to understand and implement the nine guidelines and also, in some instances, serve as standalone tools. These appendices are featured within the Guide. You can also download the appendices individually.


If you or a child are in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000).

Information on reporting child safety concerns can be found on our Make a report page.

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The information on this website may bring up strong feelings and questions for many people. There are many services available to assist you. A detailed list of support services is available on our Get support page.