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					      Module 12

   Child Protection
Briefing for Volunteers
                Child Protection
            is everyone’s business!

   All Australians need to do something to stop the
    physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect
    of children

   “There is no more important test for judging our
    society than how it values children. Protection of
    children from abuse and neglect is a moral and
    ethical imperative.”
    (NSW Premier Bob Carr 1997)
   “Our schools must be places of welcome and
    safety for students, their families and staff.”
    (Staff of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Parramatta, Focus on Learning
    Conference 2003)

   Healthy communities honour and love their most
    vulnerable – the children. In a Catholic school we
    maintain that all children have the right to a safe and
    supportive environment free from any form of abuse or
    harm. In our school relationships between adults and
    students are governed by trust and Gospel values.
             1. Developments in NSW Child
                  Protection legislation

     Since 1998 several new acts of child protection legislation
        have commenced operation in NSW.

                  Act                                          Focus
Child Protection (Prohibited Employment) Act 1998        Prohibited Employment Declaration

Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000       Registration of certain offenders
Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 Reporting to DoCS

Ombudsman Act 1974                                       Allegations against employees

Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998        Employment screening
              2. Child Protection
       (Prohibited Employment) Act 1998
   The Child Protection (Prohibited Employment) Act 1998
    requires any person working in child-related employment
    involving unsupervised contact with children to complete a
    Prohibited Employment Declaration

   Who is required to complete a Prohibited Employment
    All current and prospective employees are asked to declare if
    he/she is a “prohibited person”. A volunteer is considered an
    “employee” under this Act as he/she is completing a task on
    behalf of a child-related organisation, ie. a school.
    Who is a prohibited person?

   A person found guilty of certain serious sex offences is
    termed a ‘prohibited person’ under the Act. Such
    offences include:

     Sexual abuse of a child
     Offences related to child pornography or child prostitution
     Carnal knowledge
     Sexual activity or
     Acts of indecency, committed in NSW or elsewhere would
     have been punishable by penal servitude or imprisonment of
     12 months or more if the offence had been committed in
If a person has any doubts about
   his/her status he/she should seek
   independent legal advice
    The Child Protection (Offenders
        Registration) Act 2000

‘Registrable’ person is also a ‘prohibited
   This Act recognises there are offences, in
    addition to sex offences, which may
    render a person unsuitable to work with
    children and young people eg. child
    murder, kidnapping
What must a VOLUNTEER do?

 Declare to the employer his/her status
  relating to the definition of a prohibited
 NOT apply for, or remain in child-related
  work if he/she is a prohibited person
 NOT make a false disclosure regarding
  his/her status as a prohibited person.
What must the employer do?

 Obtain a Prohibited Employment Declaration
  from ALL employees (paid and unpaid) who
  may have direct, unsupervised contact with
EM6 form
 3. Employment Screening – Commission
   for Children and Young People Act 1998

The Prohibited Employment Declaration is not to be
  confused with Employment Screening which is a
  further requirement for preferred applicants for
  paid positions.

At this stage employment screening is not required
  for volunteers.
    4. Children and Young Persons (Care
          and Protection) Act 1998

   Schools must report to DoCS children under
    16 years of age, who are suspected of being
    at “risk of harm”
    What is meant by “risk of harm”?
A child or young person is at risk of harm if current
  concerns exist for his/her safety, welfare or well-
  being because of any of the following circumstances:
   basic physical or psychological needs are not being
   not receiving necessary medical care
   physical or sexual abuse or ill-treatment has or may
   domestic violence in the household
   carer’s behaviour creates risk of psychological harm
What if I have concerns about the
well-being of a child?

It is possible that a volunteer working in a
     school may encounter a child who is at
     risk of harm.

  i.  Disclosure by a child eg. conversation in
      the classroom, on excursion, or
  ii. Observation eg. noticing of marks,
        Report to the Principal

If you have concerns about the safety, welfare
            or well being of a child

            report to the Principal
            5. Ombudsman’s Act 1974

   This Act applies to employees in designated
    agencies including schools
Under the Act an ‘employee’ includes both
employees and any individual engaged by the
school to provide services to children.
This includes volunteers.
What constitutes child abuse under the
         Ombudsman’s Act?
    Child abuse includes:

   Sexual abuse – any sexual act or sexual threat
    imposed on a child, eg. sexual intercourse, acts of
    indecency and indecent assault
   Physical abuse – physical assault (hostile towards a
    child) and/or non-accidental injury and/or harm
    towards a child. Actual physical harm does not
    have to occur for an assault to have taken place. An
    assault can occur regardless of the adult’s intention
    to harm
   Neglect – failure to provide basic necessities of life
   Behaviour causing psychological harm –
    behaviours shown to have caused psychological
    and emotional harm to a child eg. public
    humiliation, exposure to domestic violence,
    threats to hurt or kill
   Misconduct that may involve child abuse
    – eg. inappropriate relationship with a child (not
    sexual), inappropriate language, inappropriate
    touching (not sexual), exposing children to
What if my concerns involve a
member of school staff?

       Report to the principal
           6. Further information

   Confidentiality

Child protection legislation requires the identity of
  the person reporting a child protection matter
  remain confidential.
Good practices for adults dealing with
children and young people –

 Listen
 Be interested
 Ask for help
 Act if we suspect abuse
Establishing adult – child boundaries
in the school setting

 Volunteers maintain an appropriate
 relationship with a child or young person
    Examples of boundary violations
   Inappropriate comments about a student’s appearance
   Conversation of a sexual nature
   Use of pet names
   Jokes of a sexual nature
   Obscene gestures and language
   Facilitating access to pornographic or overtly sexual material
   Personal correspondence including email, phone, sms text
   Discussing personal details of lifestyle of self or others
   Sharing of personal information about other volunteers, staff or students
   Unwarranted and/or inappropriate touching of a student
   Initiating or permitting inappropriate physical contact by a student eg.
   Inviting students home
   Being alone in a school facility with a student after hours
   Watching students in a change room
Appropriate physical contact with students

 The following are good practice guidelines
  Avoid touching a student anywhere other than the hand, arm, shoulder,
   or upper back
  Never be with a student in a one-on-one and out of sight situation, and
   never touch a student in such a situation
  Do not presume that a hug or touch is acceptable to a particular student
  Do not touch a student in a way that may be uncomfortable for the
  In some circumstances, a young child may require appropriate
   deflection of physical contact from the volunteer without embarrassing
   the child, eg. minimising of unnecessary physical contact with
   volunteer by calmly and quietly removing child’s hand from volunteer.

   Do not use physical contact to require
    a child to do as they are instructed
       Report to the Principal

If you have concerns about a violation of an
           adult-student boundary

           report to the Principal
Fifty years from now it will not matter what kind of
  car you drove, what kind of house you lived in,
  how much you had in your bank account, or what
  your clothes looked like.

But the world may be a little better because you were
  important in the life of a child.

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