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On Us - The Australian Business Coalition for Safeguarding Children - logoIn an era where corporate responsibility extends beyond profit margins, a concerning revelation has emerged from the Australian business sector. A study spearheaded by On Us: The Australian Business Coalition for Safeguarding Children, a pioneering initiative of the Australian Childhood Foundation, reveals a startling gap in the prioritization of child safety.

The coalition’s research, involving 500 industry leaders, uncovers that over half (54%) Australian businesses lack dedicated protocols to safeguard children. This oversight is significant, given the alarming statistic that a child abuse or neglect incident is reported in Australia every two minutes. The ramifications of this negligence extend across various industries, from technology and finance to retail and hospitality, often in ways that business leaders fail to recognize.

The study illustrates a stark divide in industry perceptions. In sectors such as banking, finance, technology, engineering, and design, a worrying 75% of leaders believe their industries are immune to child exploitation risks. This complacency contrasts sharply with the automotive, medical, and entertainment sectors, where awareness is marginally higher yet still inadequate.

The implications are profound: whether directly involved with children or not, businesses can inadvertently facilitate harm. From technology platforms used to exploit children to retail spaces that become unwitting arenas for abuse, the risks are pervasive. Despite this, only 27% of businesses have ranked child safeguarding among their top three priorities, trailing behind workplace safety, mental health, and cybersecurity.

In response to this alarming scenario, On Us was established to bridge this gap. The coalition aims to foster a business environment where child safety is paramount. Members, including Westpac, TikTok, IHG Hotels & Resorts, TBWA\Australia, the Y, and The GPT Group, are committed to developing responsible business conduct assessments and tools to protect children.

Dr Joe Tucci, Chair of On Us and CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, emphasizes the urgent need for businesses to be vigilant about how their operations might inadvertently enable child abuse. He asserts, “As leaders, it is on us to be better equipped and prepared to take action to make businesses safer for all our children and young people.”

Encouragingly, the research also indicates a readiness for change, with 73% of business leaders expressing a willingness to invest in resources and education to safeguard children. This commitment marks a pivotal moment for Australian businesses to redefine their societal role.

On Us is set to officially launch on 22 November 2023, inviting businesses across Australia to join this vital movement. As the coalition galvanizes industry leaders, the message is clear: the safety and well-being of children is not just a social responsibility but a business imperative.

For more information and to express interest in joining the coalition, businesses are encouraged to visit the On Us: Australian Business Coalition for Safeguarding Children website.




Written by: Michelle Warner