All children have a right to feel and be safe and to be protected from harm. Children need from an early age to understand what is meant by ‘feeling safe and being safe’. As educators we have a legal and moral responsibility to respond to serious incidences involving abuse and neglect of the children with whom we have contact, and to report instances that we believe involve physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect.
The purpose of the policy is to describe the broad roles and to outline responsibilities of staff, volunteers and families towards the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Mandatory reporting arises from the requirements of Government Legislation for the protection of children from harm due to physical injury and sexual abuse. School personnel, mandated under this Act who, in the course of carrying out their duties, forms a reasonable belief that a child is in need of protection from physical injury or sexual abuse, must report that belief and the grounds for it as soon as possible.
This policy assists schools to comply with this requirement and fulfil their responsibilities regarding the welfare and protection of children at risk.
To ensure that children’s’ rights to be safe and maintained and each child is protected against physical and sexual abuse, and neglect.
- It is mandatory for registered teachers support staff, volunteers and others working with children in South Australia to notify the Child Abuse Hotline 131478 if they form a reasonable belief that a child has been physically or sexually abused.
- It is mandatory for all staff and volunteers working without teacher supervision to have a Criminal History Police Check every 3 years. A record will be kept by the College
- Staff, prescribed volunteers and others designated by the Legislation must be screened through criminal history checks every 3 years, for their suitability to work with children and young people.
- Staff and volunteers will receive training which describes their child protection responsibilities every 3 years
- New staff will be informed of their mandated responsibilities and the Child Protection policy during induction procedures
- If a belief has been formed by a staff member or volunteer that sexual or physical abuse or neglect has taken place, the staff member/volunteer is mandated to make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline 131478. A “Notification of a Report Sheet” is available from the School/College Principal. It should be completed and filed in the Principal’s office.
- The Principal/Leadership Team will keep a record of all discussions about a student with whom there is a concern. All reports, information sheets and subsequent discussions and information are to be recorded and remain strictly confidential.
- A proforma is available (from AISSA) for keeping this information for 25 years.
- All incidents are to be monitored, and any subsequent signs or indications of abuse are also to be reported.
- Teachers are also encouraged to report to the Principal or his/her nominee, incidents of emotional abuse or neglect or if a student discloses a desire to harm themselves or others.
- Allegation of abuse by a staff member or visitor at a school must be immediately reported directly to the Principal and/or Police for investigation.
This policy will be reviewed as part of the school’s three year review cycle
Association of Independent Schools of South Australia, (AISSA), www.ais.sa.edu.au
State Policies and Legislation:
- Children’s Protection Act 1993
- Equal Opportunity Act 1984
- Keeping them Safe’ SA Government’s Child Protection Reform Program – 2004
- National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children
- National Safe Schools Framework