Wesley College Melbourne Australia
Wesley College Melbourne

Statement of commitment - Child Safety Policy

Child abuse includes sexual offences, grooming, physical violence, serious emotional or psychological harm, serious neglect and a child’s exposure to family violence. Wesley College is committed to the protection of all children from all forms of child abuse and demonstrates this commitment through the implementation of a comprehensive Child Protection Program designed to keep children safe.
At Wesley College we have a zero tolerance for child abuse and are committed to acting in children’s best interests and keeping them safe from harm. The College regards its child protection responsibilities with the utmost importance and as such, is committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure compliance with all relevant child protection laws and regulations and maintain a child safe culture.

Child Safe Principles

The College’s commitment to child safety is based on the following overarching principles that guide the development and regular review of our work systems, practices, policies and procedures to protect children from abuse.
  1. All children have the right to be safe.
  2. The welfare and best interests of the child are paramount.
  3. The views of the child and a child’s privacy must be respected.
  4. Clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children are established in our Code of Conduct and Duty of Care Policies.
  5. The safety of children is dependent upon the existence of a child safe culture.
  6. Child safety awareness is promoted and openly discussed within our College community.
  7. Procedures are in place to screen all staff, Direct Contact Volunteers** third party contractors and external education providers who have direct contact with children.
  8. Child safety and protection is everyone's responsibility.
  9. Child protection training is mandatory for all College Council members, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers.
  10. Procedures for responding to alleged or suspected incidents of child abuse are simple and accessible for all members of the College community.
  11. Children from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds have the right to special care and support including those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
  12. Children who have any kind of disability have the right to special care and support
**Direct Contact Volunteers are those volunteers that are involved in providing support, guidance and supervision directly to students and could potentially have direct unsupervised contact with students during the normal course of providing the volunteer service.

Examples of Direct Contact Volunteer activities may include volunteers involved in College camps and excursions, coaching sporting teams or assisting in learning activities.

Objectives

This policy provides the framework for:
  • The development of work systems, practices, policies and procedures that promote child protection within the College;
  • The creation of a positive and robust child protection culture;
  • The promotion and open discussion of child protection issues within the College; and
  • Complying with all laws, regulations and standards relevant to child protection in Victoria.

Child Protection Program

Wesley College is committed to the effective implementation of our Child Protection Program and ensuring that it is appropriately reviewed and updated. We adopt a risk management approach by identifying key risk indicators and assessing child safety risks based on a range of factors including the nature of our College's activities, physical and online environments and the characteristics of the student body.

Our Child Protection Program relates to all aspects of protecting children from abuse and establishes work systems, practices, policies and procedures to protect children from abuse. It includes:
  • clear information as to what constitutes child abuse and associated key risk indicators;
  • clear procedures for responding to and reporting allegations of child abuse;
  • strategies to support, encourage and enable staff, volunteers (direct and indirect), third party contractors, external education providers, parents and students to understand, identify, discuss and report child protection matters;
  • procedures for recruiting and screening College Council members, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers;
  • pastoral care strategies designed to empower students and keep them safe;
  • policies with respect to cultural diversity and students with disabilities;
  • a child protection training program;
  • information regarding the steps to take after a disclosure of abuse to protect, support and assist children;
  • guidelines with respect to record keeping and confidentiality;
  • policies to ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations and standards (including the Victorian Child Safe Standards); and
  • a system for continuous improvement and review.
As a part of Wesley College’s induction process, all staff and Direct Contact Volunteers are required to complete a selection of training modules on the content of our Child Protection Program.

All staff, Direct Contact Volunteers and College Council members are provided with additional, ongoing child protection training at least annually.

Staff, volunteers (direct and indirect), third party contractors and external education providers are supported and supervised by the College’s Child Protection Officers to ensure that they are compliant with the College’s approach to child protection.

Responsibilities

Child protection is everyone’s responsibility. At Wesley College all members of the College Council and staff, as well as direct and indirect volunteers, have a shared responsibility for contributing to the safety and protection of children. Specific responsibilities include:

College Council

Each member of the College Council is required to ensure that appropriate resources are made available to allow the College’s Child Protection and Safety Policy and the Child Protection Program to be effectively implemented within the College and are responsible for holding the Principal and College Executive team accountable for effective implementation.

The Principal

The Principal is responsible, and will be accountable for, taking all practical measures to ensure that this Child Protection and Safety Policy and the College’s Child Protection Program are implemented effectively and that a strong and sustainable child protection culture is maintained within the College.

The College's Child Protection Officers

A number of senior staff members are nominated as the College's Child Protection Officers. Our Child Protection Officers receive additional specialised training with respect to child protection issues. They are the first point of contact for raising child protection concerns within the College. They are also responsible for championing child protection within the College and assisting in coordinating responses to child protection incidents.

 Name Position  Contact No.  Email address 
 Richard Brenker  Head of Campus  (03) 8102 6100  Richard.Brenker@wesleycollege.net
 Peter Dickinson  Head of Campus  (03) 8102 6500  Peter.Dickinson@wesleycollege.net
 Jacinta Janssens  Head of Campus  (03) 8102 6800  Jacinta.Janssens@wesleycollege.net
 Ben Marsland  Head of Campus  (03) 8102 6021  Ben.Marsland@wesleycollege.net
 Ned McCord  Executive Director, Yiramalay  (03) 8102 6244  Ned.McCord@wesleycollege.net
 Damon Emtage  Director, Learning in Residence  (03) 8102 6500  Damon.Emtage@wesleycollege.net
 Hayne Meredith  Head of Outdoor Education  (03) 8102 6500  Hayne.meredith@wesleycollege.net

Staff Members

All staff are required to be familiar with the content of our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Protection Program and their legal obligations with respect to the reporting of child abuse. It is each individual’s responsibility to be aware of key risk indicators of child abuse, to be observant, and to raise any concerns they may have relating to child abuse with one of the College’s Child Protection Officers.

Direct Contact Volunteers

All Direct Contact Volunteers, as defined in this policy, are required to be familiar with the content of our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Safety Code of Conduct and their legal obligations with respect to the reporting of child abuse.

It is each individual’s responsibility to be aware of key risk indicators of child abuse, to be observant, and to raise any concerns they may have relating to child abuse with one of the College’s Child Protection Officers.

Indirect Contact Volunteers

Indirect Contact Volunteers (or 'indirect volunteers') are those volunteers who are involved in providing support and services whilst not directly assisting a specific group of students. Indirect contact volunteers are not responsible for supervising students and would not have "unsupervised" contact with students during the normal course of providing the volunteer service.

All indirect volunteers are responsible for contributing to the safety and protection of children in the College environment.

All indirect volunteers are required by the College to be familiar with our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Protection Program.

Examples of Indirect Contact Volunteer activities may include assisting with College functions, or the College canteen and fundraising barbeques.

Third Party Contractors

All Third Party Contractors (service providers) engaged by the College are responsible for contributing to the safety and protection of children in the College environment.

All service providers engaged by the College are required by the College to be familiar with our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Protection Program.

The College may include this requirement in the written agreement between it and the service provider.

External Education Providers

An external education provider is any organisation that the College has arranged to deliver a specified course of study that is part of the curriculum, to a student or students enrolled at the College.

The delivery of such a course may take place on College premises or elsewhere.

All external education providers engaged by the College are responsible for contributing to the safety and protection of children in the College environment.

All external education providers engaged by the College are required by the College to be familiar with our Child Protection and Safety Policy and our Child Protection Program.

Wesley College may include this requirement in the written agreement between it and the external education provider.

Reporting Concerns

Our Child Protection Program provides detailed guidance for members of the College Council, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers as to how to identify key risk indicators of child abuse and how to report child abuse concerns to one of our College's nominated Child Protection Officers. It also contains detailed procedures with respect to the reporting of child abuse incidents to relevant authorities.
Third party contractors, external education providers, indirect contact volunteers, students, parents/carers or other community members who have concerns that a child may be subject to abuse are asked to contact one of the College's Child Protection Officers.
Communications will be treated confidentially on a “need to know basis”.
Whenever there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger the Police should be called on 000.

Child Safety Code of Conduct

Wesley College Child Safety Code of Conduct outlines appropriate standards of behaviour for all adults towards students.

The Code serves to protect students, reduce any opportunities for abuse or harm to occur, and promote child safety in the College environment. It provides guidance on how to best support students and how to avoid or better manage difficult situations. Where a staff member breaches the Code, Wesley College may take disciplinary action, including in the case of serious breaches, summary dismissal. The College revises the Code annually.
Wesley College has the following expectations of behaviours and boundaries for all adults interacting with students within our College community. This includes all teaching staff, non-teaching staff, Council members, volunteers (direct and indirect), third party contractors, external education providers and parents/carers.

Do:

  • Behave as a positive role model to students.
  • Promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of students.
  • Be vigilant and proactive with regard to student safety and child protection issues.
  • Provide age appropriate supervision for students.
  • Comply with guidelines published by the College with respect to child protection.
  • Treat all students with respect.
  • Promote the safety, participation and empowerment of students with a disability.
  • Promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of linguistically and culturally diverse students.
  • Use positive and affirming language toward students.
  • Encourage students to ‘have a say’ and then listen to them with respect.
  • Respect cultural, religious and political differences.
  • Help provide an open, safe and supportive environment for all students to interact, and socialise.
  • Intervene when students are engaging in inappropriate bullying behaviour towards others or acting in a humiliating or vilifying way.
  • Report any breaches of this Child Safety Code of Conduct.
  • Report concerns about child safety to one of the College’s Child Protection Officers and ensure that your legal obligations to report allegations externally are met.
Where an allegation of child abuse is made, ensure as quickly as possible that the student involved is safe.

Call the Police on 000 if you have immediate concerns for a student's safety.

Respect the privacy of students and their families and only disclose information to people who have a need to know.

Do not:

  • Engage in any form of inappropriate behaviour towards students or expose students to such behaviour.
  • Use prejudice, oppressive behaviour or inappropriate language with students.
  • Express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality in the presence of students or discriminate against any student based on culture, race, ethnicity or disability.
  • Engage in open discussions of an adult nature in the presence of students.
  • Engage in any form of sexual conduct with a student including making sexually suggestive comments and sharing sexually suggestive material.
  • Engage in inappropriate or unnecessary physical conduct or behaviours including doing things of a personal nature that a student can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes.
  • Engage in any form of physical violence towards a student including inappropriately rough physical play.
  • Use physical means or corporal punishment to discipline or control a student.
  • Engage in any form of behaviour that has the potential to cause a student serious emotional or psychological harm.
  • Develop ‘special’ relationships with students that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific students).
  • Engage in undisclosed private meetings with a student that is not your own child.
  • Engage in inappropriate personal communications with a student through any medium, including any online contact or interactions with a student.
  • Take or publish (including online) photos, movies or recordings of a student without parental/carer consent.
  • Post online any information about a student that may identify them such as their: full name; age; e-mail address; telephone number; residence; school; or details of a club or group they may attend.
  • Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse.
Our Child Protection Program includes our Code of Conduct and Duty of Care Policies that provide detailed guidance for all staff and volunteers (direct and indirect) on how to maintain professional boundaries between students and adults at Wesley College.

Reporting Concerns

The Program also includes information for members of the College Council, staff and Direct Contact Volunteers as to how to identify key risk indicators of child abuse and how to report child abuse concerns to one of the College's nominated Child Protection Officers. 

It also contains detailed procedures with respect to the reporting of child abuse incidents to relevant authorities. Third party contractors, external education providers, indirect contact volunteers, students, parents or other community members who have concerns that a child may be subject to abuse are asked to contact one of the College's Child Protection Officers.

Communications will be treated confidentially on a ‘need to know basis’.

Whenever there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger, the Police should be contacted on 000.