CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

Policy numberCCI-02Version1.0
Drafted byChris O’DonnellApproved by Board on30 June 2020
Responsible personRichard Mackay-ScollayScheduled review date1 July 2021
  1. Introduction

Creative Clunes Inc (CCI) is a cultural organisation that auspices events such as, and not limited to, Clunes Booktown Festival, Clunes Ceramic Award, Booktown on Sunday and Words in Winter.

CCI is committed to promoting and protecting the interests and safety of children. We have zero tolerance for child abuse.

Everyone working at CCI is responsible for the care and protection of children and reporting information about child abuse.

  • Purpose

The purpose of this policy is

  1. To facilitate the prevention of child abuse occurring within CCI.
  2. To ensure that all parties are aware of their responsibilities for identifying possible occasions for child abuse and for establishing controls and procedures for preventing such abuse and/or detecting such abuse when it occurs.
  3. To provide guidance to staff/volunteers/contractors as to action that should be taken where they suspect any abuse within or outside of the organisation.
  4. To provide a clear statement to staff/volunteers/contractors forbidding any such abuse.
  5. To provide assurance that any and all suspected abuse will be reported and fully investigated.
  • Policy

CCI is committed to promoting and protecting the best interests of children involved in its programs.

  1. All children, regardless of their gender, race, religious beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation, or family or social background, have equal rights to protection from abuse.
  2. Child protection is a shared responsibility between the CCI, all employees, workers, contractors, associates, volunteers and members of the CCI community.
  3. Any staff member, volunteer or contractor who has grounds to suspect abusive activity must immediately notify the appropriate child protection service or the police.  They should also advise their supervisor about their concern.
  4. In situations where the supervisor is suspected of involvement in the activity, or if the person having the suspicion does not believe that the matter is being appropriately addressed or dealt with, the matter should be reported to the next highest level of supervision.
  5. Supervisors must report complaints of suspected abusive behaviour or misconduct to the CEO and also to any external regulatory body such as the police. 

The Board of CCI has ultimate responsibility for the detection and prevention of child abuse and is responsible for ensuring that appropriate and effective internal control systems are in place.

The CEO of CCI is responsible for:

  • Dealing with and investigating reports of child abuse;
  • Ensuring that all adults within the CCI community are aware of their obligation to report suspected sexual abuse of a child in accordance with this:
  • Providing support for staff, contractors and volunteers in undertaking their child protection responsibilities.

All staff/volunteers/contractors share the responsibility for the prevention and detection of child abuse, and must:

  • Report any reasonable belief that a child’s safety is at risk to the relevant authorities (such as the police and/or the state-based child protection service) and fulfil their obligations as mandatory reporters;
  • Report any suspicion that a child’s safety may be at risk to their supervisor (or, if their supervisor is involved in the suspicion, to a responsible person in the organisation); and
  • Provide an environment that is supportive of all children’s emotional and physical safety.
  • Definitions

Child means a person below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

Child protection means any responsibility, measure or activity undertaken to safeguard children from harm.

Child abuse means all forms of physical abuse, emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect or negligent treatment, commercial (e.g. for financial gain) or other exploitation of a child and includes any actions that results in actual or potential harm to a child.

Child sexual assault is any act which exposes a child to, or involves a child in, sexual processes beyond his or her understanding or contrary to accepted community standards. Sexually abusive behaviours can include the fondling of genitals, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or any other object, fondling of breasts, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and exposing the child to or involving the child in pornography. It includes child grooming, which refers to actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child to lower the child’s inhibitions in preparation for sexual activity with the child.

Reasonable grounds for belief is a belief based on reasonable grounds (see below) that child abuse has occurred when all known considerations or facts relevant to the formation of a belief are taken into account and these are objectively assessed. Circumstances or considerations may include the source of the allegation and how it was communicated, the nature of and details of the allegation, and whether there are any other related matters known regarding the alleged perpetrator.

A reasonable belief is formed if a reasonable person believes that:

  • the child is in need of protection,
    • the child has suffered or is likely to suffer “significant harm as a result of physical injury,” or
    • the parents are unable or unwilling to protect the child.

A ‘reasonable belief’ or a ‘belief on reasonable grounds’ is not the same as having proof, but is more than mere rumour or speculation.

  • Employment of New Personnel and Volunteer Recruitment

CCI undertakes a comprehensive recruitment and screening process for all workers and volunteers that aims to:

  • promote and protect the safety of all children under the care of the organisation;
  • identify the safest and most suitable people who share CCI’s values and commitment to protect children; and
  • prevent a person from working at CCI if they pose a risk to children.

CCI may require applicants to provide a police check in accordance with the law and as appropriate, before they commence working at CCI and during their time with CCI at regular intervals.

Once engaged, workers/volunteers must review and acknowledge their understanding of this Policy.

  • Investigating

If the appropriate child protection service or the police decide to investigate a report, all employees, contractors or volunteers must co-operate fully with the investigation.  

Whether or not the authorities decide to conduct an investigation, the CEO will consult with the authorities to determine whether an internal investigation is appropriate. If it is decided that such an investigation will not conflict with any proceeding of the authorities, the CEO may decide to conduct such an investigation.  All employees, contractors and volunteers must co-operate fully with the investigation.

Any such investigation will be conducted according to the rules of natural justice.

The CEO will make every effort to keep any such investigation confidential; however, from time to time other members of staff may need to be consulted in conjunction with the investigation.

After an initial review and a determination that the suspected abuse warrants additional investigation, the CEO shall coordinate the investigation with the appropriate investigators and/or law enforcement officials. Internal or external legal representatives will be involved in the process, as deemed appropriate.

  • Responding

If it is alleged that a member of staff, contractor or a volunteer may have committed an offence the person concerned may be stood down (with pay, where applicable) while an investigation is conducted. 

If the investigation concludes that on the balance of probabilities an offence (or a breach of the organisation’s policies or Code of Conduct) has occurred then disciplinary action may follow, up to and including dismissal or cessation of involvement with the organisation. The findings of the investigation will also be reported to any external body as required.

  • Privacy

All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. CCI will have safeguards and practices in place to ensure any personal information is protected.

Everyone is entitled to know how the personal information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will be able to access it.