Child Safe Policy

Child Safe Policy

We are a Childsafe Organisation:

We are a childsafe organisation. This means we are committed to the safety, protection and wellbeing of children. We continually work towards the highest standards of child safety in an open, accountable, honest, respectful and ethical culture.

Keeping children and young people safe involves more than just maintaining policies and procedures and making reports. It includes:

  • Minimising the possibility of child abuse occurring in the first place
  • Working to reduce the impact of child abuse and neglect after it has occurred
  • Doing everything possible to ensure it does not occur again
  • Providing ongoing support and services to children, young people and adults as appropriate.

This policy may change from time to time. The most recent version will be available on our website.

Child Safety, Protection and Well-being is Everyone’s Responsibility:

All team members play an important role in creating a positive, child safe environment. You will receive regular support and supervision to:

  • Maintain a focus on the safety and wellbeing of children
  • Provide an opportunity to share issues of concern

Zero Tolerance Approach:

We take a zero tolerance attitude towards child abuse and towards any breach of this childsafe policy. We will fully investigate any actual or suspected breach of this policy. Where grounds for concern are found, we will report the matter to the relevant authorities for possible criminal proceedings and the relevant role will be terminated immediately.

Child Safety Contact Person:

Our Child Safety Contact Person is the CEO. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you need to report an incident, you can contact the CEO at info@imatterfoundation.com.au.

If you suspect that this child safe policy has not been followed, or that a child is at risk or has been abused then act on your instincts or concerns and report the situation to a supervisor and/or to the Child Safety Contact Person.

Children Are Actively Encouraged to Participate:

We support the active participation of children in our organisation. We listen to the views of children, we respect what they say and we involve them when we make decisions about matters that will affect them.

Risk Assessment and Management:

We will regularly review risks and update our policies and procedures (at least every two years). We will incorporate the views of our team members, of children and adult participants and of the community.

Communication and Training:

We will communicate our child safe policy in a variety of ways. We will provide induction and regular training to ensure our team members understand the policy, how to behave appropriately around children and how to make a report.

Child safety will be a standard item on the agenda at our board meetings.

A Child Safe Environment:

The safety, protection and wellbeing of children is the responsibility of every team member. Leaders and supervisors will model our values and expected standards of behaviour.

Parents, carers or guardians will remain present with their children where possible. Parents, carers or guardians must be present unless all regular team members have current working with children checks.

At least two team members will be present with children at all times.

Visual Images, Publications and Social Media:

We will portray children in a respectful manner rather than as vulnerable or submissive. Photographs, videos, websites, social media posts and publications must comply with our Childsafe Policy and our Privacy Policy.

Child or Young Person :

A child or young person includes anyone under the age of 18.

Abuse or Neglect:

Abuse or neglect occurs when the child has suffered, or is likely to suffer physical or psychological injury that has a negative impact on the child’s wellbeing, or the child’s psychological or physical development is at risk.

In the Event of a Child Safety Incident:

If an incident occurs during an I Matter Foundation activity or event:

  1. Identify that the immediate environment is safe for the affected child or children, other children and I Matter Foundation team members.
  2. Separate the affected child from the person or people that have allegedly caused harm.
  3. Ensure all children are safe and supervised by at least two team members.
  4. Reassure the children that they are now safe.
  5. Explain that the incident is not the child’s fault.

Supporting a Child After an Incident or a Disclosure:

When an incident occurs, or when a child tells you about abuse they have experienced, the child may be feeling scared, guilty, ashamed, angry and powerless. You may feel outrage, disgust, sadness, anger and sometimes disbelief.

When a child tells you about abuse:

  • Remain calm
  • Listen carefully
  • Tell the child you believe them
  • Reassure the child that the abuse is not their fault and they have done the right thing by talking to you
  • Provide the child with an opportunity to have a support person present
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep, don’t promise the child that you will keep their secret
  • Avoid pushing the child to share more details, do not ask leading questions
  • Explain to the child that some people do the wrong thing and the perpetrator is responsible for their actions
  • Don’t investigate the situation yourself
  • Seek medical attention if required (such as first aid or an ambulance)
  • Report the situation to a supervisor confidentially
  • Determine what parties need to be informed (such as the child’s parents, Child Protection and/or the police – all physical assaults of a child involving adults and all alleged incidents of child sexual abuse should be reported to the police)
  • Record the details of the incident and any action taken
  • All incidents of physical or sexual abuse and any other incidents deemed serious must be raised with the I Matter Foundation board
  • Ask for a debriefing session and for as much support as you need

Mandatory Reporting:

All persons engaged in the delivery of self-protection classes to children and all persons with a supervision or management role are legally mandated to notify Child Protection if they suspect, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person is being, or has been, abused or neglected. This applies to paid staff and to volunteers.

Even if you are not required by law to report child abuse, you do have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety, protection and wellbeing of children. It is also a requirement of this policy that you ensure the safety, protection and wellbeing of children report any concerns.

Making a Report or Notification:

Early identification of abuse or neglect can assist families to provide for the child’s safety and wellbeing. The long term effects of child abuse have a significant impact on children, future generations and the community.

Protecting children and assisting families can reduce and possibly eliminate the intergenerational cycle of abuse.

Child Protection must be notified as soon as practically possible after a suspicion has been formed.

You can contact Child Protection on 1800 319 353.

You are not required to prove that abuse has occurred. You just need to report your concerns or suspicions.

A notification must be accompanied by a statement of the observations, information and opinions on which the suspicion is based. It is unlikely that you will have all the relevant information. Do not try to conduct an investigation yourself but provide Child Protection with any of the following details that you are aware of:

  • If the caregivers are aware that you are making a notification
  • What you told the child about the actions you will take
  • Names of parents or carers, children and siblings
  • Date of birth or age of the child
  • A current address and phone number
  • Name of the child’s school
  • Ethnicity
  • Alleged perpetrator’s name, age, address, relationship to the child and alleged whereabouts
  • Details of when the next expected contact with the alleged perpetrator will occur
  • Your name and your role with I Matter Foundation
  • Your relationship to the child
  • The type of contact you have with the child, and how frequently you have contact
  • Whether you are working with the family and in what capacity
  • If the child disclosed, what the child said and their emotional presentation
  • Description, size and location of injuries, if any
  • Whether the child has been seen by a doctor, and if so, the doctor’s name and contact details
  • Caregiver behaviours of concern, including how often and how severe
  • Concerning behaviours of the child, including how often they occur
  • Whether the parents are separated
  • Family violence or domestic abuse that you are aware of
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Violence towards people outside of the family
  • Extended family or other support networks
  • Child care arrangements
 
You can download the Child Safety Incident Report Form  HERE

Confidentiality:

When you make a notification, your identity will not be disclosed except:

  • To an official person involved in the process (such as a police officer)
  • When a court deems it necessary
  • If you have given your consent

After a Notification:

Child Protection will conduct an assessment to determine if intervention is necessary. You may not receive feedback or information about any decisions made or actions taken.

You may still have a duty of care to ensure the safety, protection and wellbeing of the child even after you have made a notification. Discuss the ways you might be able to support the child and the child’s family with your supervisor. This may include making a referral to an appropriate organisation.

It is also important that you maintain appropriate professional boundaries and that you take care of yourself.

Support for You:

Making a report or notification can be a difficult experience. Please take the time to discuss your thoughts and feelings with a supervisor. Ask for a debriefing session and ask for further support if you need it. Megan Bird, I Matter Foundation Board Member and qualified counsellor is available to support you.

Bullying and Harassment:

If you suspect that bullying behaviour is occurring:

  • Notify your supervisor
  • Your supervisor will act as soon as practically possible to investigate the situation
  • The investigation may include interviewing the persons affected, the persons behaving inappropriately and any witnesses
  • Serious incidents must be reported to the board
  • Your supervisor will decide on a course of action, in consultation with the board if appropriate
  • A course of action may include written or verbal warnings, termination of involvement with I Matter Foundation and some form of restorative justice
  • Parents and other relevant persons will be informed about the incident and outcomes
  • Persons affected will be offered support
  • Records will be maintained about the incidents and outcomes