Child Safety

Catholic Schools

Child Safe Schools

The care, safety and wellbeing of children and young people is fundamental to Catholic education.

 

We commit to providing a safe and nurturing culture for all children and young people in Victorian Catholic schools through:

1. Upholding the primacy of the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

2 Empowering families, children, young people and staff to have a voice and raise concerns.

3 Implementing rigorous risk-management and employment practices.

 

For further information, visit

www.cecv.catholic.edu.au/Our-Schools/Child-safety

 

The Child Safety Standards

 

The care, safety and wellbeing of children and young people is a central and fundamental responsibility of Catholic education. The CECV is committed to strengthened practice for the protection of children in line with the Victorian Government child safety reforms.

The Victorian Government’s 2012–2013 Betrayal of Trust Parliamentary Inquiry found that more must be done to prevent and respond to child abuse in all organisations working with children. The Betrayal of Trust report highlighted gaps and inconsistencies in child safe practices in organisations and recommended immediate steps for the safety of children through the introduction of a comprehensive set of child safe standards.

On 26 November 2015, the Victorian Parliament passed the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Bill 2015 (Vic.) to introduce the Victorian Child Safe Standards into law.

Preventing and responding to child abuse requires a whole of community response to bring about broad cultural change. To this end, the Victorian Child Safe Standards apply to a broad range of organisations that provide services for children, including schools, churches, sporting clubs and youth services.

For schools, these child safe standards represent holistic education and organisational preventative measures in ensuring the safety of children and young people.

The Catholic sector’s response to the Victorian child safe reforms reflect our commitment to ‘lead the way’, not only by meeting our compliance and legislative requirements but through cultural change and strategies that ensure child safe practices are embedded in everyday practice.

What are the Child Safe Standards?

There are seven minimum child safe standards with an overarching principle of inclusion which applies to each of the Standards.

The intention of these new Child Safe Standards is to make organisations, including schools, consider and address child abuse situations and risks in an integrated and proactive fashion.

Principle of inclusion

Ministerial Order No. 870 ensures that school governing authorities must take account of the diversity of all children, including (but not limited to) the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, children with disabilities, and children who are vulnerable.

The seven standards are:

1. Organisational culture for child safety

Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements

2. Child safety policy

A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety

3. Code of conduct

A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children

CECV Guide for Catholic Schools Developing a Child Safety Code of Conduct

4. Human resources practices

Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel

CECV Guidelines on the Employment of Staff in Catholic Schools

5. Responding to and reporting suspected child abuse

Processes for responding to and reportingsuspected child abuse

6. Reducing or removing risks of child abuse

Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse

7. Empowerment of children

Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children

 

 

Child Safety

Code of Conduct

Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct

30 May 2016

 

Central to the mission of Sacred Heart School is an unequivocal commitment to fostering the dignity, self-esteem and integrity of children and young people and providing them with a safe, supportive and enriching environment to develop spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially.

Purpose

This Code of Conduct has a specific focus on safeguarding children and young people at Sacred Heart School against sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse or neglect. It is intended to complement child protection legislation, school policies/procedures and professional standards, codes or ethics as these apply to staff and personnel.

All staff, volunteers, contractors, clergy and board members at Sacred Heart School are expected to actively contribute to a school culture that respects the dignity of its members and affirms the Gospel values of love, care for others, compassion and justice.

They are required to observe child-safe principles and expectations for appropriate behaviour towards and in the company of children, as noted below.

 

Acceptable behaviours

All staff, volunteers, contractors, clergy and board members are responsible for supporting the safety of children by:

  • adhering to the school’s child-safe policy and upholding the school’s statement of commitment to child safety at all times
  • taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse
  • treating everyone in the school community with respect - modelling positive and respectful relationships and acting in a manner that sustains a safe, educational and pastoral environment
  • listening and responding to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they or another child have been abused or that they are worried about their safety/the safety of another child
  • promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (for example, by never questioning an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child’s self-identification)
  • promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children with culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds (for example, by having a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination)
  • promoting the safety, participation and empowerment of children with a disability (for example, during personal care activities)
  • ensuring as far as practicable that adults are not alone with a child
  • reporting any allegations of child abuse to the school’s leadership
  • understanding and complying with all reporting obligations as they relate to mandatory reporting and reporting under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic.)
  • reporting any child safety concerns to the school’s leadership
  • if an allegation of child abuse is made, ensuring as quickly as possible that the child(ren) are safe.

Unacceptable behaviours

Staff and volunteers must not:

  • ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse
  • develop any ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific children)
  • exhibit behaviours with children which may be construed as unnecessarily physical (for example, inappropriate sitting on laps)
  • put children at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors)
  • initiate unnecessary physical contact with children or do things of a personal nature that a child can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes
  • engage in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children (for example, personal social activities)
  • use inappropriate language in the presence of children
  • express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality in the presence of children
  • discriminate against any child, including because of age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability, sexuality, ethnicity or disability
  • have contact with a child or their family outside of school without the school’s leadership knowledge and/or consent or the school governing authority’s approval (for example, unauthorised after-hours tutoring, private instrumental/other lessons or sport coaching); accidental contact, such as seeing people in the street, is appropriate
  • have any online contact with a child (including by social media, email, instant messaging etc.) or their family (unless necessary e.g. by providing families with e-newsletters or assisting students with their school work)
  • use any personal communication channels/device such as a personal email account
  • exchange personal contact details such as phone number, social networking sites or email addresses
  • photograph or video a child without the consent of the parent or guardians
  • work with children while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • consume alcohol or drugs at school or at school events in the presence of children.

I, ______________________________________, confirm I have been provided with a copy of the above Code of Conduct. Safeguarding Children and Young People

Signed: ___________________________________   Date: __________


 

Appendix 1: Definitions

The Ministerial Order provides the following definitions:

 

Child abuse includes:  

any act committed against a child involving:

a sexual offence,

or an offence under section 49B(2) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic.) (grooming)

the infliction, on a child, of:   physical violence, or  serious emotional or psychological harm, or

serious neglect of a child.

 

Child-connected work means work authorised by the school governing authority and performed by an adult in a school environment while children are present or reasonably expected to be present.

 

Child safety encompasses matters related to protecting all children from child abuse, managing the risk of child abuse, providing support to a child at risk of child abuse, and responding to incidents or allegations of child abuse.

 

School environment means any physical or virtual place made available or authorised by the school governing authority for use by a child during or outside school hours, including:  

  • a campus of the school  
  • online school environments (including email and intranet systems)  
  • other locations provided by the school for a child’s use (including, without limitation, locations used for school camps, sporting events, excursions, competitions, and other events).

 

School staff being: an individual working in a school environment who is:  

  • directly engaged or employed by a school governing authority;  
  • a volunteer or a contracted service provider (whether or not a body corporate or any other person is an intermediary);
  • or  a minister of religion.
Sacred Heart Primary School
4 Newcastle Street
Newport VIC 3015

Tel: (03) 9391 6262
Fax: (03)9391 7041
office@shnewport.catholic.edu.au