CHILD SAFETY POLICY
Huntingtower places the highest priority on the care, wellbeing and protection of children and young people. The spiritual basis of our school pervades all we do, although we do not teach religion. Our great desire is to do good for all. Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and all bring with them a desire to learn, to contribute to their community and to give to the world. We focus on everyone’s spiritual nature as a reflection of Love. This includes paying attention to the inherent dignity of children and young people, and their fundamental right to be respected, nurtured and safeguarded by all.
Huntingtower is committed to safeguarding children and young people against sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse and/or neglect, and is always working to achieve this.
- Student Wellbeing Policy
- Student Wellbeing - Staff Code of Conduct
- Student Wellbeing - Concerns procedure
THE VICTORIAN CHILD SAFE STANDARDS
On 26 November 2015, the Victorian Parliament passed the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Bill 2015 (Vic.) to introduce Victorian Child Safe Standards (the standards) into law. The standards will be phased in from 1 January 2016 for most organisations working with children and will come into force for schools from 1 August 2016.
Ministerial Order No 870 has been made and was gazetted on Thursday 7 January 2016. The Ministerial Order, developed in consultation with stakeholders from government and non-government school sectors, specifies the actions schools must take to meet each of the child safe standards.
As a minimum requirement for school registration, schools must take action in accordance with Ministerial Order No 870 to manage and reduce the risk of child abuse. The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) will have responsibility for ensuring compliance against the standards in schools with effect from 1 August 2016.
WHAT ARE THE VICTORIAN CHILD SAFE STANDARDS?
The standards were publicly released on 29 September 2015 after consultation with stakeholders. They are aimed at creating child safe environments and promoting cultural change in the way organisations manage the risk of child abuse and neglect.
Child safe organisations must have:
- Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements
- A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety
- A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
- Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
- Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
- Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse
- Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children
In complying with the child safe standards, organisations must include the following
principles as part of each standard:
- Promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children
- Promoting the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
- Promoting the safety of children with a disability.
STUDENT PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE, AND NEGLECT
Children and young people's rights to be safe are fundamental to our work. It is crucial that each child is protected against physical and sexual abuse, and neglect.
When teachers form a belief that a child may be at risk of harm due to sexual abuse or physical injury that results from abuse or neglect, they have a legal responsibility to notify the Department of Human Services.
In 2010, education and human services stakeholders established a joint protocol ‘Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people’ to provide a unified and consistent approach that defines roles and responsibilities to protect the safety and wellbeing of all Victorian children and young people. The protocol provides information for licensed children’s services and Victorian schools to take appropriate action when it is believed that a child has suffered harm, or is likely to suffer harm, through abuse or neglect.
Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people
A step-by-step guide to making a report to Child Protection or Child FIRST
Huntingtower together with support from staff determine appropriate referral pathways based on the individual needs of students. Some of the organisations include:
- Centre against Sexual Assault
- Victoria Police
- Child Youth Mental Health Services
- General Practitioners
- Child First
- Department of Human Services
- Monash Youth - Wavecare
The Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix is a tool which supports parents and carers, school staff and other professionals to appropriately refer children and young people to mental health services.
Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix
Anaphylaxis is a severe and sudden allergic reaction and is potentially life threatening. The most common allergens in school-aged children and young people are peanuts, eggs, tree nuts (e.g. cashews), cow's milk, fish and shellfish, wheat, soy, sesame seeds, latex, certain insect stings and medications.
Huntingtower recognises the key to prevention of anaphylaxis is education, awareness, planning, risk minimisation and prevention.
Huntingtower has an anaphylaxis management policy.
The following guidelines prepared by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2014) have been developed to assist all Victorian Schools in planning for, and supporting students with severe allergies.
EMERGENCIES AND NATURAL DISASTERS
Huntingtower has an emergency management plan that identifies procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. If an emergency should occur, the school emergency management team is quickly established to support and meet the needs of students and families.
If there is an emergency situation during the school day, the safety and wellbeing of students is our highest priority. No student details will be released to anyone other than those authorised on their enrolment form.
To assist the staff of Huntingtower to prepare for and manage emergencies, we ask you to:
- Ensure your child’s emergency contact details held by the school are always up to date
- Ensure school staff are alerted to any special medical or dietary requirements of your child
- Notify the school principal of any emergency situation involving your child.
SMOKE FREE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
While smoking was banned on the grounds of Victorian School in 2009, smoking was also banned within four metres of an entrance to, all Victorian Childcare Centres, Kindergartens, Primary and Secondary Schools on 13 April 2015. This ban ensures that children and young people can enter and leave these areas without being exposed to harmful second-hand smoke.
Second-hand tobacco smoke is particularly dangerous to children and young people because they have smaller airways and less developed immune systems compared to adults.
Please see the attached brochure outlining the requirements
Smoke-free Learning Environments
Access to the online world offer’s students the chance to explore a virtually limitless world. It provides new opportunities for learning and connecting across the globe, but like the real world, there are dangers that exist. To address this, the State and Australian Governments have put out a range of information brochures to assist parents recognising the signs of grooming, bullying, inappropriate content and a parents' guide to online safety.
Parents Guide to Online Safety
The School also addresses Cybersafety through their policy 'Internet Use for Students' and provides a range of safety strategies to implement that are tailored to meet the needs of our children, young people and school community.