Policies


Friends of South Surrey Park Child Safety Policy

Introduction

This Child Safety Policy is prepared to ensure children are safe at all Friends of South Surrey Park events and activities and to provide guidance about the standards and procedures that they must follow.

The policy conforms to the requirements of the Victorian Child Safe Standards issued by the Commission for Children and Young People that came into force on 1 July 2022. It is based on a template prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Scope and application

Under the Act, a Child is a person who is under the age of 18 years.

Our commitment to child safety

Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. is committed to child safety.

  • We want children to be safe, happy and empowered.

  • We support and respect all children.

  • 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, which we follow.

  • Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early and removing and reducing these risks.

  • Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. have practices to reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing volunteers.

  • Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. is committed to training and educating our members on child abuse risks.

  • We are committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.

  • Friends of South Surrey Park members are encouraged to apply for a Working with Children Check. https://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/

  • If you believe a child is at immediate risk, phone 000.

Our children

This policy is intended to empower children, who are active participants at Friends of South Surrey Park activities. We involve them when making decisions, about matters that directly affect them. We listen to their views and respect what they have to say.

We promote diversity and acceptance at Friends of South Surrey Park, 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 volunteers

    This policy guides volunteers on how to behave with children at Friends of South Surrey Park activities.

    All volunteers working with children must agree to abide by our Code of Conduct which specifies the standards of conduct required. All volunteers, as well as children and their families, are given the opportunity to contribute to the continuing development and update of the Code of Conduct.

    Training and supervision

    Training and education are important to ensure that everyone at Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility.

    Our organisational culture aims for all volunteers, including families and children to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns.

    New volunteers will be supervised to ensure they understand Friends of South Surrey Park Inc.’s commitment to child safety and that everyone has a role to play in protecting children from abuse. This will include checking that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate (please refer to the Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. Code of Conduct for information about appropriate behaviour). Any inappropriate behaviour will be reported through appropriate channels, including Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.

    Privacy

    All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. Everyone is entitled to know how this information is recorded, what will be done with it and who will have access to it. This is intended to protect reporters and to ensure that all members of Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. are comfortable to disclose any allegations or concerns in relation to child safety without repercussions.

Legislative responsibilities

Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. takes its legal responsibilities seriously, including:

  • Failure to disclose: 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 Victoria Police

  • Mandatory reporting: Any volunteers who are mandatory reporters (doctors, nurses, midwives, teacher, principals and police officers) must comply with their duties

  • 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

  • Reportable conduct: The Friends of South Surrey Park President must be made aware of any allegations of physical and sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, significant emotional or psychological harm or significant neglect by a volunteer towards a child. We are also legally required to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of the allegation.

  • Duty of care: If a child is abused by an individual associated with our organisation, our organisation is presumed to have breached its duty of care unless it can prove that it took ‘reasonable precautions’ to prevent the abuse in question.

    Risk management

    In Victoria, organisations are required to protect children when a risk is identified. In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to our children. We have risk management strategies in place to identify, assess, and take steps to minimise child abuse risks which include risks posed by physical environments.

    Allegations, concerns and complaints

    Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. take all allegations seriously and has practices in place to investigate thoroughly and quickly.

    We work to ensure all children, families, 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. If an adult has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred, then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may include:

  • 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

Regular review

This policy will be reviewed every two years and following significant incidents if they occur. We will ensure that families and children have the opportunity to contribute. Where possible we will do our best to work with local Aboriginal communities, culturally and/or linguistically diverse communities and people with a disability.

Child Safe Policy Child Safety Code of Conduct

All members of Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. are required to observe child safe principles and expectations for appropriate behaviour towards and in the company of children, as noted below.

The Code of Conduct is freely available to all Friends of South Surrey Park members on the South Surrey Park web page; https://www.southsurreypark.org

All personnel of Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. are responsible for supporting the safety, participation, wellbeing and empowerment of children by:

  • adhering to the Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. Child Safety Policy at all times / upholding Friends of South Surrey Park Inc. statement of commitment to child safety at all times

  • taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse

  • treating everyone with respect

  • listening and responding to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are

    telling you that they or another child has been abused and/or are worried about their safety

    or the safety of another

  • promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children (for

    example, by never questioning an Aboriginal 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 of

    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 left alone with a child

  • reporting any allegations of child abuse to the President of Friends of south Surrey Park (or

    another committee member if the President is the focus of the allegation) and ensure any

    allegation is reported to the police or child protection

  • reporting any child safety concerns to the President of Friends of South Surrey Park

  • if an allegation of child abuse is made, ensure as quickly as possible that the child(ren)

    is/are safe

  • encouraging children to ‘have a say’ and participate on issues that are important to them

    Volunteers must not:

  • 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. Sitting on laps could be appropriate sometimes, for example while reading a storybook to a small child in an open plan area)

  • put children at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors)

  • 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 culture, race, ethnicity or disability

  • have any online contact with a child or their family (unless necessary, for example

    providing families with e-newsletters)

  • ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse

    By observing these standards you acknowledge your responsibility to immediately report any breach of this Code to the President of Friends of South Surrey Park Inc.

    If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse, report the matter to the Police (Phone 000).

    Friends of South Surrey Park is a member of Landcare Victoria. This Code of Conduct is compliant with Landcare Inc. Child Safety Policy under Rule 17.15.

Friends of South Surrey Park Incorporated Model Rules
 Contact Pam Welsford: southsurreypark@gmail.com


 

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