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Equal Ed

Child Safe and e-Safety Policy

Purpose

The Victorian Government introduced the Child Safe Standards which are compulsory minimum standards for all organisations providing services to children to ensure that organisations are prepared to protect children from neglect and abuse.

 

The current Equal Ed Child Safety Policy aims to outline to both staff, students, contractors, volunteers and any other community stakeholders Equal Ed works with in a clear and easily understandable way our obligation and commitment to creating a child safe environment in our organisation both in physical spaces and online.

 

Scope

The following policy applies to:

  • Staff

 

  • Volunteers

 

  • Management including Executive Management (ie. Board of Governance and Directors)

 

  • Contractors

 

 

When any one of the above terms are used, that term applies to and encapsulates all individuals and classes of individuals listed.

 

Statement of Commitment

Equal Ed is committed to the safety, wellbeing and best interests of the children and young people we work with. In order to do so, Equal Ed:

 

  • Will have zero tolerance for child abuse. All reportable or suspected cases will be dealt with extremely seriously in accordance with Equal Ed’s policies and the relevant legislation governing such behaviour.

  • Is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risk early, and removing and reducing these risks

  • Has legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when there are concerns about a child or young person’s safety, which will be followed rigorously

  • Will provide training and education to staff and volunteers on the Child Safe Standards, Reportable Conduct Scheme and creating a child safe organisation

  • Will provide a culturally safe environment for all young people extending to all cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities

  • Will provide a safe environment for individuals who may have a disability and consider their needs in providing our services

  • Will provide a safe environment for individual who may have suffered trauma and consider their needs in providing our services

  • Will provide a safe environment for individuals of different genders and sexual orientations, respect their gender diversity and consider their needs in providing our services

  • Extend all of the above commitments when providing our services in both physical and online envrionments

 

Code of Conduct when Providing Services (Including Online Services)

Equal Ed management will:

  • Ensure existing policies and any updates in policy are effectively delivered to and understood by all staff

 

  • Actively clarify any questions or areas of concerns staff and young people we work with may have

 

  • Actively create a clear channel of communication for clarifications and reporting for staff

 

  • Actively create a safe and accepting environment for all

 

Staff must:

  • Follow the Child Safety Policies of Equal Ed and where appropriate and necessary, policies of partnering oranisations

 

  • Report any suspicions of child abuse to the management or the authorities where necessary

 

  • Report any cases of online harassment to management. (This includes any form of bullying or discriminatory behaviour to both staff or students)

 

  • Where possible and practical only contact students through their teachers or relevant staff of the organisation when working with organisations in a client-provider relationship

 

  • Uphold the highest level of professionalism when working with children and actively listen to their needs and concerns

 

  • Have a valid Working with Childrens’ Check at all times whilst engaging in activities for Equal Ed that involves working with children

 

  • Use password enabled video conferencing platforms wherever possible to ensure limited access to such platforms by the general public

 

  • Be dressed appropriately for all services, including online sessions; Casual and/or comfortable clothing are acceptable but no pyjamas or revealing sleep wear

 

  • Conduct their online sessions in an appropriate space, ensuring that doors to bathrooms and areas where others in the house may use privately are closed and possessions of a private or inappropriate to work place nature are out of view

 

Staff must not:

  • Contact students, clients, or young people they come into contact with through the course of their work unless it is for a purpose directly related to their work or for the benefit or safety of the child

 

  • Share any personal details of students and clients including but not limited to contact details, personally identifying information (eg religion) or information provided in confidence to any third parties unless it is directly related to the delivery of our services or required by law

 

  • Use our online platforms to contact students for any purpose other than providing them our services

 

Under this Policy, no individual or group in Equal Ed will:

 

  • Harm, humiliate or otherwise cause emotional trauma to children and young people in their actions both in a physical environment or virtual (online) environment

 

  • Unlawfully discriminate against any individual for their race, ethnicity, cultural background, age, gender, sexual orientation or any personal traits that are unlawful to discriminate against

 

  • Engage in any activity with a young person or child that is likely to cause harm to them either physically or emotionally

 

  • Photograph or otherwise record young people without both their knowledge and the knowledge of their parents or guardians

 

  • Photograph or otherwise record young people under 18 in services or activities without first their parents/guardians consent. (This excludes public events partnered with other organisations where the partnering organisation has an “opt-out” photography policy such as when participating in City Council events)

 

  • Work with children or young people whilst under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs

 

  • Initiate inappropriate physical contact with any young person or child

 

  • Initiate or accept contact through an online platform for reasons inappropriate in nature

 

  • Send or exchange content inappropriate or mature in nature, or content that is contextually suggestive of inappropriate or mature content, via an online platform

 

 

Recruitment
  • Equal Ed’s recruitment processes include online applications, interviews and necessary background checks to ensure individuals are suitable to work with children

 

  • The application and interview processes aim to ensure that individuals with a dedication to uphold child safety and the wellbeing of their students are selected

 

  • All staff go through relevant induction processes to ensure they understand the values of Equal Ed and the expectations and obligations they must uphold in the undertaking of their duties

Incident Reporting

If a staff member has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident as soon as possible and at the first instance to the Managing Director. If the incident is a criminal offence, the incident must also be reported to the police on 000.

The following conduct must be reported:

Reportable conduct includes:

  • (a) a sexual offence committed against, with or in the presence of, a child, whether or not a criminal proceeding in relation to the offence has been commenced or concluded, or

  • (b) sexual misconduct, committed against, with or in the presence of, a child, or

  • (c) physical violence committed against, with or in the presence of, a child, or

  • (d) any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child, or

  • (e) significant neglect of a child.

The Managing Director can be contacted at any time via mobile on 0426 833 686.

In order for Equal Ed to perform its functions under the Child Safe Standards, it may be required to collect personal information about an employee, consultant/contractor or volunteer and disclose that information to a third party.

Personal information which is collected and/or disclosed about an individual will be managed in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the Privacy and Date Protection Act 2014 and Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2015.

 

Breaches of Policy & Conduct

Breaches to the code of conduct by any member of staff or individual conducting business and activities for Equal Ed will lead to disciplinary action.

 

Disciplinary action can include termination and cessation of activities with Equal Ed.

 

Further action will be taken in accordance to relevant legislation as necessary, including reporting to police.

 

Changes in Policy

The policy and code of conduct may change from time to time to align with new legislation or guidelines. Staff will be updated and notified of such changes when they occur and be provided the necessary training or induction to enable them to effectively abide by the changes.

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