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Child Safety policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 18 October 2018.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy outlines the University's commitment to promoting the wellbeing and safety of children connected to the University community.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all students, staff and associates of the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University acknowledges that children are part of the University community as students, visitors and through the University’s community engagement and school outreach activities. Children may also be involved in research projects subject to appropriate consent.

(5) The University is committed to:

  1. child safety and promoting children’s best interests, including the cultural safety of Aboriginal children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and the safety of children with a disability
  2. promoting the participation and empowerment of children who are students at the University and with whom the University otherwise engages.

(6) The University does not tolerate child abuse and discrimination and will integrate strategies to reduce child abuse risks into its practices and to ensure that any child abuse allegations are dealt with effectively. The Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting procedure outlines responsibilities and processes for responding to disclosures or allegations of child abuse and child safety concerns. The Diversity and Inclusion policy outlines the University’s commitment to preventing unlawful discrimination.

(7) The University expects appropriate standards of behaviour towards and in the company of children and young people, including online conduct. Unacceptable behaviours include but are not limited to:

  1. ignoring or disregarding any concerns, suspicions or disclosures of child abuse or harm
  2. developing any ‘special’ relationships with a child or young person that could be perceived as grooming, for example, offering gifts
  3. putting children or young people at risk of abuse, for example, lack of risk mitigation strategies for activities involving children or young people or inadequate supervision
  4. initiating unnecessary physical contact with children or young people
  5. emotional or psychological harm such as unlawful discrimination against a child or a young person including on the basis of age, gender, race, culture, sexuality or disability
  6. engaging in inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature with a child or young person, for example, making sexually suggestive comments or sharing sexually suggestive material
  7. exchanging personal contact details, for example, phone numbers, social networking sites or email addresses with children or young people or their families unless required to by specific work related circumstances
  8. engaging in inappropriate personal communication with children or young people or their families online or by phone.

(8) The University supports and promotes the following behaviours:

  1. reporting any child safety concerns or allegations of child abuse or harm through the University Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting procedure and, where appropriate, directly to Victoria Police or Child Protection
  2. encouraging children or young people to ‘have a say’ and participate in relevant activities
  3. listening and appropriately responding to the views and concerns of children and young people
  4. being mindful that children and young people are not easily identified when integrated into a university environment
  5. recognising and respecting the needs of children and young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
  6. recognising the needs of children and young people with a disability and identifying appropriate ways to support them
  7. being open and transparent and keeping other adults informed of University activities that you do with children and young people
  8. respecting the privacy of adults and young people and only disclosing information to people who have a need to know.

(9) The University will ensure that appropriate support and general welfare arrangements are in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of any child, whether domestic or international, who is enrolled at the University.

(10) International Student Advisers will meet regularly with all international students under 18 years of age and Senior Student Advisers will meet regularly with all domestic students under 17 years of age to listen to their concerns, provide support and address their needs.

(11) The University will establish an Under 18 Network to bring together staff working with domestic and international students who are under 18 years of age and other key staff to address the needs of children studying at the University and promote compliance with relevant legislation and standards.

(12) The University’s Health, Wellbeing and Safety Committee will monitor and review child safety practices and risks through its Child Safety Working Group and make recommendations, as appropriate, to improve child safety practices and reduce risks.

(13) The University will seek input from school students engaged in outreach programs with the University on any wellbeing or safety concerns or ideas to improve practices. Any systemic risks or concerns raised or ideas to improve University practices from these students will be addressed as appropriate through the Under 18 Network and/or the Child Safety Working Group.

(14) The University is committed to recruitment and employment practices which protect children and promote their safety and wellbeing through appropriate screening processes and staff training.

(15) The University requires all new staff and associates and staff who move into roles that involve potential direct contact with children as part of their duties to obtain and maintain a Working with Children Check at their own cost. The University publishes Working with Children Check Guidelines to provide information on obtaining, maintaining and recording information on Working with Children Checks. The University may also use reference checks and police checks as a means of screening staff in accordance with the Recruitment of Staff procedure and Casual Staff Employment procedure.

(16) Online child safe standards training is offered to all staff. Additional training is offered to student-facing staff and others involved in working with children, and specialist training is provided to Child Safe Advisers.

(17) Child Safe Advisers are trained to provide an initial contact and referral point for those who have child safety concerns, as outlined in the Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting procedure.

(18) Any member of the University community who conducts research with, or relating to, children must comply with the Research Conduct policy, including, where relevant, the requirements of the Human Research Ethics Committee and the Child Protection in Australian Aid-Funded Research procedure.

(19) All students, staff and associates must comply with the Student Code of Conduct and Code of Conduct, in particular the provisions relating to child safety and wellbeing.

(20) Disciplinary action can be taken against individuals who breach this Policy under the Student General Misconduct procedure and the Staff Discipline policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(21) The following procedures document how to comply with this Policy:

  1. Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting procedure
  2. Child Protection in Australian Aid-Funded Research procedure
  3. Underage Student Management policy.
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Section 6 - Definitions

(22) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. associates: contractors, consultants, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.
  2. child: a person under the age of 18 years
  3. child abuse: includes sexual abuse and grooming, physical abuse or violence, serious psychological or emotional abuse and serious neglect
  4. staff: members of the Academic or Professional staff, Executive or Honorary staff
  5. student: as defined in section 3 Deakin University Act 2009 (Vic) means: (a) a person enrolled at the University in a course leading to a degree or other award; or (b) a person designated as a student or who is of a class of persons designated as students by the Council.