Child Safe Standards
The Loddon Shire Council is committed to being a child-safe organisation, with zero tolerance for child abuse. We, along with a range of organisations, are working towards compliance with the Victorian Child Safe Standards.
We all play an important role in protecting children, especially if we have concerns for a child’s safety. We aim to create a culture of child safety that reduces the opportunity for harm and gives staff a clear process to follow when someone raises concerns about child safety or reports abuse.
Our Child Safe Standards Statement of Commitment applies to all employees, Loddon Shire Council volunteers, work experience students, relevant contractors and Councillors.
Statement of Commitment to the Child Safe Standards
The organisation is committed to the safety and well-being of children and, as such, is committed to creating and maintaining a child safe organisation.
We have zero tolerance of child abuse and are committed to actively contributing to a child safe shire where children are protected from abuse.
Our commitment to the safety of children is based on our duty of care and responsibilities to children and always acting in the best interests of children.
Our commitment will be enacted through the implementation and monitoring of the Child Safe Standards, as specified under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Act 2015.
Our commitment to children
We are committed to ensuring children feel safe, empowered and are taken seriously if they raise concerns in relation to their safety and well-being.
We value and support diversity, inclusion and equality. In acknowledgement of the particular vulnerabilities of these groups of children, and in accordance with the Child Safe Standards, we particularly support:
- the cultural safety of Indigenous Australian children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- the participation and empowerment of children with a disability, Indigenous Australian children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Our commitment to Councillors, staff, volunteers and contractors
We are committed to ensuring Councillors, staff, volunteers and contractors, depending on the nature of their role, understand that child safety is everyone’s responsibility.
We will ensure Councillors, staff, volunteers and contractors are provided with the necessary support to fulfil their obligations in relation to child safety.
We will ensure staff, Councillors and volunteers are educated in child safety including abuse risks and how to interact and behave with children.
All employees of Council, including work experience students, agency staff, volunteers and independent contractors whilst located at Council workplaces must abide by our Code of Conduct which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children.
Expectations in relation to behaviour are outlined in Staff, Volunteers and Contractors Code of Conduct and Councillor Code of Conduct.
Our commitment to ensuring a child safe organisation
We will ensure all staff and volunteers who work with children have a current Working With Children Check (WWCC) and that there is an appropriate screening process for staff and volunteers that work with children including interview guides, advertisements and selection criteria which clearly demonstrate our commitment to child safety.
We will ensure all new and existing employees understand the importance of protecting children from harm. This will be supported through induction, training and professional development.
We will ensure staff understand the process for reporting any child safety issues and are supported by Council’s appointed Child Safety Officer.
All allegations and concerns in relation to children’s safety will be taken seriously and will be investigated fairly and appropriately.
Council supports and encourages our employees to proactively report any behaviour deemed to be endangering the safety of children.
Council has a designated Child Safety Officer, who is available to support staff with any child safety concerns and to safely disclose risks of harm to children.
Reportable incidents and complaints are notified to the relevant authority (Child First, Child Protection or police).
This Statement of Commitment applies to all Councillors, all staff including any person directly employed by the Loddon Shire Council or employed through an agency or on a contract basis, and volunteers and work experience students, irrespective of their specific involvement in child related duties.
This statement will be reviewed every two years, and following any changes to legislation or policy.
- Child/children: refers to children and young people aged and under the age of 18 years.
- Child Safety Officer: refers to the appointed Council officer who staff and volunteers can seek guidance and support from when there are concerns regarding a child’s safety and who will initiate internal processes in relation to where matters need to be reported.
- Cultural Safety: refers to where children experience their cultural identity, values and way of being, which may differ from other cultures; and their interactions with the wider community are respected, not challenged or harmed.
- Working With Children Check (WWCC): refers to the check conducted to assist in protecting children from sexual or physical harm by ensuring that people who work with, or care for, them are subject to a screening process. The WWCC screens a person’s criminal records and any reports about professional conduct.