CPOL/STAFF143

Child Safe Policy

POLICY TITLE CHILD SAFE POLICY
POLICY NUMBER CPOL/STAFF143
DATE ADOPTED September 2017
DATE REVIEWED June 2021
TO BE REVIEWED June 2022
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policy-newPurpose

The Victorian child safe standards are a compulsory framework that support organisations to promote the safety of children by requiring them to implement policies and procedures to
prevent, respond to and report allegations of child abuse.

The standards exist to prevent abuse, to drive cultural change and embed a focus on child safety by placing children’s rights and wellbeing at the forefront of the organisation’s mind.
Importantly, the standards not only protect children from abuse and harm, but nurture their wellbeing and support their voices in speaking out and being heard on the issues affecting
them.

The seven standards span the culture and leadership of the organisation, the policies needed, our Code of Conduct, screening, supervision and training of staff, responding to and reporting suspected abuse, identifying and removing risks, and promoting participation and empowerment of children.

In 2019 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), endorsed the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (National Principles). While the requirements of the National
Principles are similar to those of the Child Safe Standards, it is compliance with the Child Safe Standards that is required by law in Victoria.

Scope

This policy applies to all Swan Hill Rural City Council (Council) Councillors, staff, volunteers, contractors, work experience students, and industry placement students.

Policy

This policy demonstrates Council’s commitment to child safety. Council aims to provide children with an environment that is safe and welcoming and encourages participation. The
objectives of this policy include:

  • To reflect Council’s commitment to provide a safe environment where every person has the right to be treated with respect and is safe and protected from harm.
  • To provide Councillors, staff, volunteers and contractors with guidance on their responsibilities for identifying possible occasions for child abuse and for establishing
    controls and procedures for preventing such abuse and/or detecting such abuse when it occurs.
  • To ensure decisions and actions are consistent with the Victorian Child Safe Standards.

Council is committed to promoting and protecting the interests and safety of children. We have zero tolerance for child abuse.

All children who come to Swan Hill Rural City Council facilities have a right to feel and be safe. Council is committed to the safety and well-being of all children participating in our programs and visiting our libraries. We aim to create a safe and friendly environment where children feel safe and valued and where the views of children are encouraged and respected. Council is committed to promoting and protecting, at all times, the best interests of children involved in its programs.

All children, regardless of their gender, gender identity, sex/intersex status, race, religious beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation, family or social background, have equal rights to protection from abuse.

Council recognises that cultural safety is a core element of child safe organisations, and that cultural differences should inform practices to uphold children’s fundamental right to safety in accordance with the principles of the standards:

  • The cultural safety of Aboriginal children
  • The cultural safety of children from culturally and /or linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • The safety of children with disability

A child safe organisation is one that understands if we accept behaviour that is concerning to us without speaking up, we are condoning it. The essence of the Child Safe Standards is a widely understood commitment to saying something, if you see something. While it takes many components to build a child safe organisation, the standards primary focus is fostering a common attitude shift from “that behaviour is worrying but it isn’t my concern” to “it is my concern”.

The standards

The child safe standards apply to organisations providing services or facilities or employing children or young people in Victoria.

The standards support child safety by changing the way in which organisations and their staff, volunteers and members work so that protecting children is always considered, taken seriously and acted on.

Victoria has seven child safe standards that focus on governance and leadership, documenting, identifying and managing risk; and promoting the participation of, and empowering, children.

Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements.
Standard 2: A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety.
Standard 3: A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children.
Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel.
Standard 5: Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse.
Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse.
Standard 7: Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.

The work involved in building a child safe organisation is never completed. It is a dynamic, multi-layered and ongoing process of learning, monitoring and reviewing.

Changes are being made ro make the Child Safe Standards even stronger. The new Standards set out minimum requirements and outline the actions organistions must take to keep children and young people safe. The new Standards are more consistent with Standards in the rest of Australia.

Organisations covered by the Standards need to comply with new Standards by 1 July 2022. Work to transition to the new Standards will commence but until 1 July 2022 the current Standards apply.

Related Policies / Procedures / Documents

  • POL/HUMAN604 Reporting Concern about Children or Young People
  • PRO/STAFF141 Police Checks
  • PRO/STAFF142 Working with Children Check
  • POL/STAFF127 Staff Code of Conduct
  • POL/CORP211 Privacy Policy
  • POL/STAFF105 Equal Opportunity Employment
  • POL/GOV018 Public Interest Disclosures
  • POL/STAFF123 Serious Misconduct Negligence and Fraud
  • CPOL/OHS901 Occupational Health and Safety
  • POL/STAFF104 Disciplinary Policy
  • POL/STAFF130 Termination of Employment
  • POL/CORP214 Records Management Policy

Related Legislation

  • Education and Care Services National Law 2010
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011
  • Commonwealth Family Assistance Law:
  • Equal Opportunity Act 2010
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
  • Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
  • Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
  • Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012
  • Crimes Act 1958
  • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
  • Public Records Act 1973
  • Working with Children Act 2005
  • Limitations of Actions Act 1958

Signed: Cr Bill Moar (Mayor)
Date: 26/09/2021

For information on current legislation visit:

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