Child safety standards

Victoria has introduced compulsory minimum standards for organisations that provide services for children to help protect children from abuse. The Child Safe Standards form part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry (the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations).

Education, awareness raising and helping organisations to create and maintain child safe environments will be the initial focus of the Child Safe Standards. For more information please go to : http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/documents-and-resources/policies,-guidelines-and-legislation

Our commitment to child safety

Our organisation is committed to child safety.

In keeping with our focus on Child Safety in the Dance Industry, we are constantly reviewing our policies and keeping up with current government guidelines to ensure we are working in the best interests of all Children and their parents that take part in the VCE Dance Class.

We will not post on line via social media a video or photo content that could identify a child with their full name, studio, age, location. Which will not only identify a child via the video or photo but also could increase other risks for grooming of children that include cyberbullying, stalking, or exposure to illicit materials.

We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers.

We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children.

We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously.

We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety,

Our organisation is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks.

Our organisation is committed to regularly training and educating our staff and volunteers on child abuse risks.

We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers. We are committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.

If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse phone 000.

Our children

This policy is intended to empower children who are vital and active participants in our organisation. We listen to their views and respect what they have to say.
We promote diversity and tolerance in our organisation, and people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds are welcome. In particular we:

• promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children
• promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
• ensure that children with a disability are safe and can participate equally.

Our staff and volunteers

This policy guides our staff and volunteers on how to behave with children in our organisation.

All of our staff and volunteers must agree to abide by our code of conduct which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children.
Training and supervision

Training and education is important to ensure that everyone in our organisation understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Our organisational culture aims for all staff and volunteers (in addition to parents/carers and children) to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns. We train our staff and volunteers to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.

We also support our staff and volunteers through ongoing supervision to: develop their skills to protect children from abuse; and promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from linguistically and/or diverse backgrounds, and the safety of children with a disability.

Volunteers will be supervised regularly to ensure they understand our organisation’s commitment to child safety and that everyone has a role to play in protecting children from abuse, as well as checking that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate. Any inappropriate behaviour will be reported through appropriate channels, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.

Recruitment

We take all reasonable steps to employ skilled people to work with children. Our organisation understands that when recruiting staff and volunteers we have ethical as well as legislative obligations.

We actively encourage applications from Aboriginal peoples, people from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with a disability.
All people engaged in child-related work, including volunteers, are required to hold a Working with Children Check and to provide evidence of this Check. Please see the Working with Children Check website for further information

Fair procedures for personnel

The safety and wellbeing of children is our primary concern. We are also fair and just to personnel. The decisions we make when recruiting, assessing incidents, and undertaking disciplinary action will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.

We record all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using our incident reporting form, including investigation updates. All records are securely stored.
If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised, we provide updates to children and families on progress and any actions we as an organisation take.

Privacy

All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, whether they be staff, volunteers, parents or children, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. We have safeguards and practices in place to ensure any personal information is protected. Everyone is entitled to know how this information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will have access to it.

Legislative responsibilities

Our organisation takes our legal responsibilities seriously, including:

• Failure to disclose: Reporting child sexual abuse is a community-wide responsibility. All adults in Victoria who have a reasonable belief that an adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 have an obligation to report that information to the police.
• Failure to protect: People of authority in our organisation will commit an offence if they know of a substantial risk of child sexual abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently fail to do so.
• Any personnel who are mandatory reporters must comply with their duties.

A broad range of professional groups are identified in the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (CYFA) as mandatory reporters. Mandated staff members must make a report to Child Protection as soon as practicable after forming a belief on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is in need of protection from significant harm as a result of physical, psychological, sexual injury or abuse, and the child’s parents are unable or unwilling to protect the child. The following professionals are prescribed as mandatory reporters under section 182 of the CYFA:

• primary and secondary school teachers and principals (including students in training to become teachers)
• registered medical practitioners (including psychiatrists)
• nurses (including school nurses)
• police.

Risk management

In Victoria, organisations are required to protect children when a risk is identified (see information about failure to protect above). In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to our children.

Regular review

This policy will be reviewed every two years and following significant incidents if they occur

Allegations, concerns and complaints

Our organisation takes all allegations seriously and has practices in place to investigate thoroughly and quickly. Our staff and volunteers are trained to deal appropriately with allegations.

We work to ensure all children, families, staff and volunteers know what to do and who to tell if they observe abuse or are a victim, and if they notice inappropriate behaviour.

We all have a responsibility to report an allegation of abuse if we have a reasonable belief that an incident took place (see information about failure to disclose above).

If an adult has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may be:

• a child states they or someone they know has been abused (noting that sometimes the child may in fact be referring to themselves)
• behaviour consistent with that of an abuse victim is observed
• someone else has raised a suspicion of abuse but is unwilling to report it
• observing suspicious behaviour.

Further information

For further information about the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry response, please visit:
• the Betrayal of Trust implementation page of the Department of Justice and Regulation website or
• the Child sexual abuse prevention and response page on this site.

Further information about the Child Safe Standards, including a range of advice, resources and templates and information on the scope of the Child Safe Standards is available from the Child Safe Standards page of the Commission for Children and Young People website.

Contact

Tel. (03) 8601 5281
Email childsafestandards@ccyp.vic.gov.au

Schools and education providers

Information for schools and education providers is available from the Protect web page on the Department of Education and Training website.
Contact

Email child.safe.schools@edumail.vic.gov.au

All Rights Reserved © Copyright 2016 onwards. Karen Brigetta Crump. Reg Private Provider no 15184