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Child Protection in Australian Aid-Funded Research procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by Vice-Chancellor on 29 April 2014.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to Regulation 4.1. (1) - General Misconduct and the Research Conduct policy and includes:

  1. Schedule A: Child Protection Code of Conduct for Australian Aid-Funded Research Project.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure outlines the processes to manage risks of child abuse and child exploitation during the conduct of the University's research activities funded wholly or in part by Australian Aid.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to all staff, students and associates of the University engaged in Australian Aid-funded research projects.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to the Research Conduct policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(6) The University will not permit its staff, students or associates to engage on the University's behalf in child-related work or to have contact with children on a research project funded by Australian Aid until they have complied with their obligations in this Procedure.

(7) The Head of Academic Unit relevant to the research project must conduct a risk assessment of the University's role in the research project prior to entering into any contract relating to that project, including a funding agreement with Australian Aid where the University is the administering organisation. The risk assessment must identify the role of each University staff member, student or associate in the research project and determine the extent to which that role may involve child-related work or contact with children.

(8) If the risk assessment identifies that staff, students or associates of the University will perform child-related work or have contact with children, the following provisions will apply to the employment, engagement or assignment to the research project of such staff, students and associates.

Existing staff and students

(9) Current staff and students must provide the following to the University:

  1. a Police Record Check, as more fully described in clause 18 with a satisfactory outcome; and
  2. a signed agreement to comply with the Schedule A: Child Protection Code of Conduct for Australian Aid-funded Research Projects.

External recruitment of staff

(10) The Head of Academic Unit

  1. will prepare a position description that must identify the following:
    1. that the position is for child-related work;
    2. that
      1. references; and
      2. a Police Record Check with a satisfactory outcome; and
      3. signed confirmation of compliance with a code of conduct reflecting Australian Aid's Code of Conduct are mandatory for the position, and
  2. must notify the Executive Director, Human Resources that the requirements of this Procedure apply to recruitment and appointment of the position.

(11) The Executive Director, Human Resources, will ensure that all recruitment and appointment advertisements and forms refer to the requirements set out in clause 10.

(12) The Executive Director, Human Resources will ensure that interviews with applicants for child-related work on Australian aid-funded research projects incorporate behavioural-based interview questions appropriate to child-related work.

(13) The Executive Director, Human Resources may make a conditional offer of employment to a successful applicant. The offer of employment cannot be finalised until:

  1. all reference checks and Police Record Check are completed or received, references are confirmed verbally, and outcomes are satisfactory to the University;
  2. the University receives a copy of the Child Protection Code of Conduct for Australian Aid-funded Research Projects signed by the applicant.

(14) The successful applicant must be provided at induction with a copy of:

  1. the AusAID Child Protection Policy 2013;
  2. their signed Child Protection Code of Conduct for Australian Aid-funded Research Projects; and
  3. this Procedure.

(15) The contract of employment with the successful applicant must confirm that the University may dismiss or suspend the employee or reassign them to other duties if the employee breaches any provision of this Procedure or of Schedule A: Child Protection Code of Conduct for Australian Aid-funded Research Projects.

Associates

(16) An Associate must provide to the University:

  1. a Police Record Check; and
  2. a signed Child Protection Code of Conduct for Australian Aid-funded Research Projects

    and if the Associate engages its own staff they must provide these documents for each individual who will perform or be involved in child-related work on the research project.

(17) Each contract with an associate must enable the University to terminate the contract or require that an individual be removed from the research project if this Procedure is breached or if an allegation of child abuse is raised against such individual.

(18) Where this Procedure requires staff, students or associates of the University to obtain a police record check, the following provisions apply:

  1. a Police Record Check must be submitted to the University for each country in which the individual has lived for 12 months or longer over the last five years, and for the individual's country of citizenship.
  2. a Police Record Check must be current, and specific to working with children
  3. if the University is satisfied that it is not possible for an individual to obtain a reliable Police Record Check from a foreign jurisdiction it may accept a statutory declaration outlining efforts made to obtain a foreign Police Record Check, and disclosing any charges and spent convictions related to child abuse.

(19) The Head of Academic Unit must ensure that each individual performing child-related work or having contact with children on the project completes training satisfactory to the University or provides proof of having completed training satisfactory to the University before commencing child-related work or having contact with children on an Australian Aid-funded research project.

Reporting child abuse to authorities

(20) The University must notify:

  1. law enforcement authorities if it believes that a member of staff, a student or an associate has committed an act of child abuse, child exploitation in undertaking child-related work or while having contact with children. Notification will be coordinated by the Chief Operating Officer on advice from the University Solicitor;
  2. Australian Aid if it believes that a member of staff, a student or an associate has committed an act of child abuse, child exploitation or Child Protection Policy (AusAID) non-compliance in undertaking child-related work or while having contact with children.

(21) Nothing in this Procedure is intended to restrict staff, students or associates in reporting child abuse or child exploitation to law enforcement agencies, meeting mandatory reporting obligations imposed on them by law, or exercising their rights under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic).

Reporting child abuse to the university

(22) A staff member, student or associate with concerns about child abuse, child exploitation or procedure non-compliance may at any time obtain confidential advice from the Manager - Integrity, Ethics and Biosafety or a Research Integrity Advisor; provided that nothing in this Procedure prevents a staff member, student or other interested party from reporting an allegation of child abuse, child exploitation, Australian Aid policy non-compliance or a failure to comply with this Procedure to the Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity directly.

(23) Allegations of child abuse must be made to the Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity.

(24) The Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity will:

  1. notify the Executive Director, Human Resources in the case of an allegation against a staff member and the matter will be dealt with under the Enterprise Agreement;
  2. notify the chair of the Student Misconduct Committee in the case of a student and the matter will be dealt with under Regulation 4.1(1) - General Misconduct;
  3. consult with the University Solicitor to determine appropriate actions under any contract in the case of an Associate;
  4. notify DFAT of receipt of the allegation of child abuse.

(25) The Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity may require that any individual against whom an allegation of child abuse is raised be removed from the research project until the allegations are investigated and determined.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(26) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Associate: contractors, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.
  2. AusAID Child Protection Policy: the policy issued by the Australian Government, acting through AusAID dated January 2013, as amended or varied.
  3. Australian Aid: the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-Australian Aid, formerly referred to as "Australian Agency for International Development" or "AusAID".
  4. Child Abuse: all forms of physical, emotional or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.
  5. Child exploitation: one or more of the following:
    1. committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of abuse against a child;
    2. possessing, controlling, producing, distributing, obtaining or transmitting child exploitation material or child pornography material;
    3. committing or coercing another person to commit an act or acts of grooming or online grooming.
  6. Child-related work: work that involves an activity with a child where the contact would reasonably be expected as a normal part of the activity and the contact is not incidental to the activity. Working includes volunteering or other unpaid work.
  7. Child Protection Code of Conduct for Australian Aid-funded Research Projects: the University's code of conduct reflecting the Child Protection Policy (AusAID), a copy of which is set out in Schedule A.
  8. Child/ren: a person under 18 years of age.
  9. Contract: as defined in the Contracts policy.
  10. Contact with Children: means working on an activity or in a position that involves that involves or may involve contact with children, either under the position description or due to the nature of the work environment. This includes indirect contact with children in the community. Examples include any in-country work, in particular working in remote/rural locations, oral and written communications (including electronic communication) relating to a child, visiting premises such as schools, health or residential facilities that provide services to children, and community consultations such as data collection, surveying or training.
  11. Head of Academic Unit: Heads of Academic Units listed in Schedule A: Academic Units of the Higher Degrees by Research Policy.
  12. Police Record Check: a check of an individual's criminal history leading to a certificate issued by a government authority displaying all releasable court outcomes.