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Charity legal obligations to safeguarding

What are the safeguarding legal obligations for registered charities?
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© ACNC

Charities have legal obligations to safeguarding under the ACNC Act and Regulations.

Most registered charities (except Basic Religious Charities) must comply with the ACNC’s Governance Standards (see the short courses Governance Standards Part A, Governance Standards Part B). In addition, all charities operating overseas must also comply with the ACNC’s External Conduct Standards.

The Governance Standards set duties for a charity to act with due care and diligence. They also set duties for a charity’s Responsible People, which include the requirement to act with care and diligence and in the best interests of the charity.

The word ‘safeguarding’ does not appear in the Governance Standards but it is clear that safeguarding is implicated in these duties. Charities are also required to comply with Australian law.

For charities that operate overseas (including those that just send funds overseas), the External Conduct Standards have explicit requirements for protecting vulnerable people. For more on this, see the short course on External Conduct Standards and the ACNC’s guidance on External Conduct Standard 4.

Your charity may have to comply with other Federal, state or overseas laws depending on the nature and location of your charity’s operations.

Consider getting legal advice to fully understand what legal obligations there may be for your charity.

© ACNC
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Safeguarding: A Guide for Charities

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