If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse phone 000.
Body Safety Australia has developed the following Child Protection and Safety Policy. This policy is an overarching document that provides key elements of our approach to protecting children from abuse.
The policy forms the foundation of the organisations’s procedures, practices, decision-making processes and ultimately the organisations’s culture with respect to child safety.
It is designed to be published on our public website as well as communicated through other mediums such as internal training manuals, our annual report and in induction and welcome packs for Board of Directors members, staff and Volunteers. A PDF version of Body Safety Australia’s Child Protection and Safety Policy and Code of Conduct is available below.
The School’s Child Protection and Safety Policy has been approved and endorsed by the School’s Board of Directors and is regularly reviewed by the Board.
At Body Safety Australia (BSA), child safety is embedded in our everyday work processes and organisational structure. Our co-founders, Deanne Carson and Whitney Yip, established BSA to empower communities to prevent childhood sexual abuse.
Our team, from our board to staff to contractors to volunteers, seek to support and empower children and young people with their rights and responsibilities. We respect all children and young people from all family structures, cultures and faiths. We are inclusive of same-sex attracted, sex and gender diverse people and their communities.
We value and empower children and young people's voices in our programs and workplace. We strive to create a safe space that supports all persons to disclose.
We have zero tolerance of all form of child abuse. All allegations and safety concerns, whether they be allegations of abuse in the home, school, online or from a BSA team member, will be addressed and treated very seriously.
We have robust policies and procedures, including intensive screening of team members, training to 'hear' disclosures, and ethical guidelines for further action and reporting.
We also fully understand our legal obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child's or young person's safety. This procedure is revised every year.
BSA's core commitment in delivering abuse prevention, consent and respectful relationships with our whole-of-community approach is support all adults to identify risks early, remove and reduce these risks. We demonstrate our commitment to preventing child abuse everyday.
Our organisation has stringent recruitment practices for all board members, staff, contractors and volunteers. This includes quarterly professional training, and Working With Children Checks (WWCC).
We would like to acknowledge that:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over represented as victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We recognise the ongoing inter-generational trauma suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities as the beneficiaries of ongoing and historical colonial violence
Children with a disability experience violence at much higher rates than children without disability. We recognise the many factors that contribute to the increased risk of violence for children with disabilities, including but not limited to; erroneous notions about disclosure reliability, disclosure credibility, and other discriminatory stereotypes about disability
Children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds are also at higher risk of experiencing and/or witnessing family violence and abuse. We recognise that this higher risk is due to many factors, including but not limited; unequal access to education about children's rights and responsibilities, lack of services in their home language, and other systemic discriminatory practice
Body Safety Australia has specific policies, procedures and training in place that support our leadership team, staff and volunteers to achieve these commitments. As a minority-led organisation, diversity and inclusivity is embedded into our organisational culture and work
Our programs have been developed to be culturally sensitive and inclusive to children with disabilities, children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as same-sex attracted, sex and gender diverse children and their families.
Our programs recognise multilingualism as an asset and encourage families and educators to adapt our games and activities into their home language. Where possible and culturally relevant, our facilitators learn and use words from other languages when presenting to families and educators.
This policy is intended to empower children and young people who are vital and active participants Body Safety Australia.
In response to the current understanding that co-production (not just co-design) is the best way to effect real change, Body Safety Australia has consulted with children and young people from Brunswick North West Primary School to further refine our child safe policies and procedures.
These consultations (as part of co-production) were designed to involved children and young people in decision-making in matters that directly affect them. Click here to read more link
If children and young people have a concern, these are the steps they can follow.
Our nominated Child Safety Officer is trained in conducting investigations into reportable conduct. Body Safety Australia will follow the protocols as outlined by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) for The Reportable Conduct Scheme.
This may include reporting to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.
This policy guides our board, staff, contractors and volunteers on how to behave with children and young people in our organisation. We deliver programs to children and young people in early education centres and schools. We are also a family-friendly organisation and may times have children and young people accessing our facilities.
Our board, staff, contractors and volunteers must agree to abide by our code of conduct which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children. All board members, staff, contractors and volunteers, as well as children and their families, are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the code of conduct.
Regular and ongoing training and education is important to ensure that our team understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility. Our organisational culture aims for all board members, staff, contractors and volunteers (in addition to teachers, educators, parents/carers, children and young people) to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns.
BSA trains our board, staff, contractors and volunteers to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse annually. This includes promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from linguistically and/or diverse backgrounds, and the safety of children with a disability.
New board members, employees, contractors screened to ensure they understand our organisation’s commitment to child safety. As we have remote team, we randomly and periodically shadow our educators' to check that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate. Please refer to Body Safety Australia's code of conduct to understand appropriate behaviour further.
Our nominated Child Safety Officer is also trained in investigative interviewing as outlined by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP). This allows our Child Safety Officer to safely investigate any allegations against our team members as required by The Reportable Conduct Scheme.
Any inappropriate behaviour will be reported through appropriate channels, including the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.
Body Safety Australia takes stringent steps to employ safe, reliable and skilled people to work with children. We develop selection criteria and advertisements which clearly demonstrate our commitment to child safety and an awareness of our social and legislative responsibilities.
Our whole team are obliged to provide their Working With Children's Checks (WWCC), or if working outside the state of Victoria, their working with vulnerable people checks, as well as a national police check on application. These checks are also audited quarterly.
Body Safety Australia’s programs are trauma-informed and uphold equity and diversity. Our commitment to supporting these values is reflected in the fact that we are women-led and our staff are comprised of individuals from varied communities including; LGBTQIA+, Aboriginal, disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse.
As such, we actively encourage applications from Aboriginal peoples, LGBTQIA+ people, people from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with a disability. People with disclosable outcomes are also considered.
Body Safety Australia's decisions on recruitment, assessment of incidents, and/or undertaking disciplinary action will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence. We record all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using our incident reporting form, including investigation updates.
All records are securely stored. If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised against a member of our team, we will investigate and provide updates to children and families on our progress. Allegations of family violence will be referred to the relevant authority under Mandatory Reporting and Failure to Disclose acts.
Investigations into allegations raised against a team member will follow the protocols outlined by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) for The Reportable Conduct Scheme.
Team members under investigation will be placed on suspension until our investigations have completed, in which, they may be reinstated or terminated, and refer to the police.
All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, whether they be board members, staff, contractors, volunteers, parents and carers, children or young people, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety.
Body Safety Australia takes our 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 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 our organisation will commit 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.
Any personnel who are mandatory reporters must comply with their duties.
We are also responsible for adhering to the Victorian Child Safe Standards, and The Reportable Conduct scheme.
In Victoria, organisations are required to protect children when a risk is identified (Failure to protect act). In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to children and young people.
We have risk management strategies in place to identify, assess, and take steps to minimise child abuse risks, which include risks posed by physical environments (for example, any doors that can lock), and online environments (for example, no staff or volunteer is to have contact with a child in organisations on social media).
Our Child Safe Policies are reviewed every two years and following significant incidents if they occur. These reviews are in consultation with families, children and young people, LGBTQIA+ people, local Aboriginal communities, culturally and/or linguistically diverse communities and people with a disability.
Our organisation takes all allegations and disclosures seriously.
Our educators are trained to deal appropriately with allegations and disclosures from children and young people. Allegations or disclosures prompted by the content of our abuse prevention and consent education will be referred to the appropriate authorities, including the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.
Allegations against our team members will be investigated thoroughly and quickly. Our Child Safety Officer, is trained to deal appropriately with allegations against our team members. Body Safety Australia will follow the investigative protocols as outlined by CCYP into reportable conduct.
Body Safety Australia empowers all children, young people, families, board members, staff, contractors and volunteers to speak up if they observe abuse and/or if they notice any inappropriate behaviours towards children and young people. We encourage children and young people to identify their five safe adults and to seek help from them. We support adults to know their responsibilities in intervening and reporting any inappropriate behaviour towards children.
Body Safety Australia encourages children, young people, families, board members, staff, contractors and volunteers to speak to our Child Safety Officer if they observe abuse and/or if they notice any inappropriate behaviours from our team members.
We all have a responsibility to report an allegation of abuse if we have a reasonable belief that an incident took place. If an adult has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may be:
Mandatory reporters (doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers including early childhood teachers, principals and police) must report to child protection if they believe on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection from physical injury or sexual abuse.