Policy Statement – A Culture of Child Safety
Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety.
Barnawartha Primary School is committed to embedding a culture of child safety and assurance that policies demonstrate zero tolerance to of child abuse in the school and community. We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. This policy applies to the immediate school environment, camps, incursions and excursions. This policy and procedure provides the foundation for and commitment to child safety in our school.
AIMS: Barnawartha Primary School aims to:
- Support and respect all children, as well as staff and volunteers.
- Ensure the safety, participation and empowerment of all children. Ensure that children feel safe to report abuse and have processes in place to empower them to raise any child safety concerns.
- Have zero tolerance of child abuse.
- Commit to the cultural safety of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander children and children from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse background, and to provide a safe environment for children with a disability.
- Empower children as vital and active participants in the school.
- Promote diversity and tolerance.
- Train staff and volunteers to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.
- Take all reasonable steps to employ skilled people to work with children.
- Ensure that decisions made when recruiting and assessing incidents will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.
- Comply with legislative responsibilities.
- Proactively manage risks of abuse to our children.
PROCEDURE: Barnawartha Primary School will:
- Involve children in programs, especially about matters directly affecting them in regard to their personal safety and physical and emotional changes throughout their growth and development. Provide programs and resources that support students to develop appropriate knowledge and skills so they can identify and communicate when they don’t feel safe.
- Programs to teach students about being safe for example and not limited to; Catching on Early, esmart schools digital licence, cybersafety, Life Education van, Daniel Morcombe foundation, and picture story books eg “My underpants rule”, “I spy with my tricky eye”).
- Educational programs eg “Preparation for Puberty for year 5 and 6 students to be implemented in alternate years.
- Correct terminology of body parts will be used by adults and children.
- Promote diversity and tolerance at school, including:
- Cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander
- Cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse background.
- Ensure that children with a disability are safe and can participate equally.
- Ensure that all staff and volunteers agree to abide by the school code of conduct, which specifies the standard of conduct required when working with children.
- Provide opportunity for the school community to participate in the development of the code of conduct.
- Train and support staff and volunteers to:
- Identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.
- Develop their skills to protect children from abuse, promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander children and children from linguistically and/or diverse backgrounds, and the safety of children with a disability.
- Supervise new employees and volunteers to ensure they understand the school’s commitment to child safety and that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate – Completion of online training modules Mandatory Reporting and Inclusivity.
- Demonstrate the school’s commitment to child safety and awareness of social and legislative responsibilities in selection criteria and advertisements for school staff.
- Require all teachers to have a successful police record check. All other people engaged in the school, including volunteers, are required to hold a Working with Children Check and to provide evidence of this Check. If during the recruitment process a person’s records indicate a criminal history then the person will be given the opportunity to provide further information and context.
- All allegations of abuse and safety concerns will be recorded including investigation updates. All records are securely stored.
- Take its 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 (or any other person; child or 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 the school understand that they are committing 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.
- All personnel who are mandatory reporters must comply with their duties.
- Ensure that risk management strategies are in place to assist in identifying, assessing, and taking steps to minimise child abuse risks, which include risks posed by physical environments (e.g. any doors that can lock), and online environments (e.g. no staff is to have contact with a child in the school on social media)
- When an adult at the school has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to a reasonable belief may be:
- A child states they or someone they know has been abused
- 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
Ministerial Order No.870 requirements
The school governing authority must:
- Develop strategies to embed a culture of child safety at the school.
- Allocate roles and responsibilities for achieving the strategies.
- Inform the school community about the strategies and allocated roles and responsibilities.
- Put the strategies into practice, and inform the school community about the practices.
- Periodically review the effectiveness of the strategies put into practice and, if considered appropriate, revise those strategies.