Child protection

Policy

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Policy statement

These Guidelines have been adapted from those developed by the Anglican Schools Commission and the government framework developed to support the effective implementation of mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse by the lead agency the Department for Child Protection and Family Support along with the Department of Education and the WA Police.

1. Introduction

Christ Church Grammar School acknowledges its responsibilities for the “duty of care” of all students at the School. This particular policy addresses the issues of child abuse and neglect.

Christ Church Grammar School believes that students should know that they are valued as persons from the time they enter our community. This pastoral dimension should influence every aspect of the School’s life and be especially evident in the quality of relationships between all members of the school community.

At Christ Church Grammar School the education of students is seen as a partnership between parents who are the primary educators of their children and the School. While some staff have particular pastoral care tasks, all teachers have a shared responsibility for the pastoral care of students. This “duty of care” to students exists during school hours and at other times whenever a staff/student relationship exists.* The Principal, with special assistance from other staff, has the responsibility for this care. Christ Church Grammar School (Inc) is the legal entity under whose authority the School operates. Duty of care falls under the area of common law that is established by the courts on the basis of precedent. The concept of “duty of care” requires that a staff person must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which they can reasonably foresee, would be likely to injure the student, and take steps to remove those dangers. (The definition of reasonable standard of care is what a responsible and caring parent would have anticipated, before the danger arose or the student was injured, and thus would not have permitted the student to engage in the activity at all, or without supervision.)

Child abuse and neglect is defined as the maltreatment of a person under the age of 18 years of age. It is the result of action or inaction on the part of an adult which results in harm or injury to a child.

This definition refers to an act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional well-being.

Child abuse may be categorised as follows:

  1. Physical abuse  occurs when a child is severely and/or persistently hurt or injured by an adult or a child’s caregiver.
  2. Sexual abuse, in relation to a child, includes sexual behaviour in circumstances where:
    1. the child is the subject of bribery, coercion, a threat, exploitation or violence;
    2. the child has less power than another person involved in the behaviour; or
    3. there is a significant disparity in the developmental function or maturity of the child and another person involved in the behaviour.
  3. Emotional abuse includes:
    1. psychological abuse; and
    2. being exposed to an act of family and domestic violence.
  4. Neglect  includes failure by a child’s parents to provide, arrange or allow the provision of:
    1. adequate care for the child; or
    2. effective medical, therapeutic or remedial treatment for the child.

On the 1st January 2009, the Western Australian government introduced new legislation that requires various occupations, including teachers, to report on child sexual abuse. This legislation is the Children and Community Services Amendment (Reporting Sexual Abuse of Children) Act 2008 and is an amendment to the Children and Community Services Act 2004.

As of 1 January 2016, supervisors of boarding facilities are mandatory reporters under the Children and Community Services Act 2004. A boarding supervisor is a member of the boarding staff who holds an office or position at a school’s boarding facility, the duties of which include the supervision of children living at the facility. 

Nurses are also mandatory reporters.

Due to the mandatory nature of this legislation, the School has chosen to deal with the issue of child sexual abuse in a separate section of this policy.

2. Principles

Christ Church Grammar School acknowledges the serious consequences of child abuse and neglect, both in the short term and the long term. Within the School the protection strategies and procedures to be followed are based on the following principles:

  • All adults have a responsibility to care for children, to positively promote their welfare and to protect them from any kind of abuse.
  • All children have the right to a thorough and systematic education about personal safety, including safety in relationships.
  • The School is committed to the importance and implementation of child protection strategies and procedures.
  • The value of the family unit is to be respected but this should not be to the detriment of the wellbeing of a child.
  • All persons involved in situations where abuse is suspected or disclosed must be treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect.
  • The Principal is responsible for ensuring all aspects of this policy are well understood and implemented by staff employed at the School.
  • The Principal is to ensure that the School’s pastoral care structures address the issue of child abuse, making appropriate provisions for the assistance of affected children, families and staff.
  • School staff who have access to information regarding suspected or disclosed child abuse have a clear obligation to observe appropriate confidentiality in relation to the entire matter, and an obligation to ensure that this information is kept secure.

All staff will:

  • take all actions and make decisions based on the best interests of the child;
  • apply child safe principles;
  • report all concerns relating to possible child abuse and neglect;
  • comply with the School’s policies and procedures relevant to their position.

The victimisation of staff, students, parents and guardians making allegations in accordance with this policy is forbidden, including where the allegation is unfounded.

3.  Prerequisites

It is a Christ Church Grammar School policy that all new employees obtain a National Police Clearance and Working with Children (WWC) check prior to commencing their employment at the School, copies of which will be kept on the employee’s file. In particular, the following offending history would disqualify the prospective employee from employment at the School:

  • any conviction as an adult for any offence involving children and/or violence;
  • any criminal conviction for fraud or similar, e.g. stealing as a servant; and
  • any finding of negligence or serious incompetence in a similar role.

The School reserves the right to periodically require staff members to undergo further Police checks. In the event a staff member refuses to undergo any further Police checks or relevant criminal activity is discovered as a result of such further Police checks, the School reserves the right to terminate the staff member’s employment without notice.

Teaching staff will also be required to present to the School, a current copy of their Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia (TRBWA) registration documentation.

On receipt of a copy of the new staff member’s WWC card and TRBWA registration documentation, the Director of Staffing will check the validity of the documentation and register the new staff member’s WWC card and TRBWA registration against the School. The School maintains a register to track the validity of staff members’ WWC card and TRBWA registration. This register is automatically generated every Monday morning and emailed to the:

  • Director of Staffing,
  • Executive Assistant to the Director of Staffing and
  • Executive Assistant to the Director of Finance

to check and remind staff when renewal is required.

All volunteers must complete and return the School’s Volunteer Code to the School. All volunteers are required to have a valid WWC check in accordance with the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004. In certain circumstances, parent volunteers may be exempt from applying for a WWC Check.

While employed at the School, staff must ensure they renew their WWC card and TRBWA registrations before they expire and must have a valid WWC card and TRBWA registration at all times.

4. Procedures: roles and responsibilities – Incidents of child sexual abuse

The Principal

The teaching staff, nurses and boarding supervisors

Non-teaching staff

Department of Communities: Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS)

The Western Australia Police

5. Procedures: roles and responsibilities – physical, emotional abuse and neglect

The Principal

The teaching staff

Non-teaching staff

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS)

The Western Australia Police

6. Child Safe environment

Christ Church Grammar School is committed to ensuring all students attending the School are provided with an environment where they feel safe and protected from harm and exploitation.

Christ Church Grammar School has adopted the 10 National Principles for a child safe organisation – a direct result of the recommendations from the Royal Commission