Child Safety

The Geelong Concert Band - Child Safe Policy

Scope

All personnel of the Geelong Concert Band (GCB) are responsible for supporting the safety, participation, wellbeing and empowerment of children.

Purpose

The purpose of the Child Safe Policy is to:

  • Facilitate the prevention of child abuse occurring within the GCB
  • Work towards an organisational culture of child safety
  • Ensure that all members, employees, volunteers and associated stakeholders 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.
  • Provide guidance to the leadership team, employees, members, volunteers and associated stakeholders as to the actions that should be taken where they suspect any abuse within or outside of the GCB
  • Provide a clear statement to the leadership team, employees, members, volunteers and associated stakeholders forbidding any such abuse.
  • Provide assurance that any and all suspected abuse will be reported and fully investigated.

Policy

Child safety is a shared responsibility between the GCB and all members, employees, volunteers, and associated stakeholders. The GCB is committed to promoting and protecting the best interests of children involved in its activities at all times.

All children regardless of their gender, race, religious beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation, family, or social background, have equal rights to protection from abuse. The GCB is committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, and those from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and providing them with a safe environment.

The GCB has zero tolerance for child abuse. Everyone working and volunteering with the GCB is responsible for the care and protection of the children within our association. GCB’s leadership team. employees, members and volunteers are also responsible for reporting any information about suspected child abuse.

If any person believes a child is in immediate risk of abuse, telephone 000.

All members, employees, and volunteers of the GCB are required to observe child safe principles and expectations for appropriate behaviour towards and in the company of children, as follows:

  • Adhering to the GCB child safe policy at all times and upholding the GCB statement of commitment to child safety at all times
  • Taking all reasonable steps to protect children form abuse.
  • Treating everyone with respect
  • Listening and responding to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they or another child has been abused and/or are worried about their safety or the safety of another.
  • Promoting cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children (for example, by never questioning an Aboriginal child’s self-identification)
  • Promoting the safety, participation and empowerment of children with a disability (for example, during personal care activities)
  • Ensuring as far as practicable that adults are not left alone with a child
  • Reporting any allegations of child abuse to the GCB President or committee, and ensuring any allegation is reported to the appropriate child protection service or the police.
  • Reporting any child safety concerns to the GCB President or committee
  • If an allegation of child abuse is made, ensure as quickly as possible that the child/ren are safe
  • Encouraging children to ‘have a say’ and participate in all relevant organisational activities where possible, especially on issues that are important to them.

Members, leadership team, employees, and volunteers must not:

  • Develop any ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific children).
  • Exhibit behaviours with children which may be construed as unnecessarily physical (for example inappropriate sitting on laps).
  • Put children at risk of abuse (for example, by locking doors).
  • Do things of a personal nature that a child can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes).
  • Engage in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children (for example, personal social activities).
  • Use inappropriate language in the presence of children.
  • Express personal views on cultures, race or sexuality in the presence of children.
  • Discriminate against any child, including because of culture, race, ethnicity or disability.
  • Have contact with a child or their family outside of the GCB beyond the scope of GCB business.
  • Have any online contact with a child or their family beyond the scope of GCB business (unless necessary, for example providing families with information).
  • Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse.

Procedure

Responsibilities

The GCB Committee 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 GCB Committee is also responsible for ensuring the appropriate updates are included in the child protection policy and code of conduct.

The GCB President is responsible for:

  • Dealing with and investigating reports of child abuse
  • Ensuring that all adults iwthin the GCB are aware of their obligations to report suspected abuse of a child in accordance with this policy and procedure.
  • Educate officials, employees, and volunteers about the prevention and detection of child abuse.
  • Providing support for officials, employees, and volunteers in undertaking their child protection responsibilities.

All members, leadership team, employees and volunteers must ensure that they:

  • Promote child safety at all times
  • Report any suspicion that a child’s safety is at risk.
  • Facilitate the reporting of any inappropriate behaviour of suspected abusive activities.
  • Familiarise themselves with the child protection policy and procedure and comply with all requirements.
  • Provide an environment that is supportive of all children’s emotional and physical safety.

All employees should be familiar with the types of abuse that might occur within the GCB and be alert for any indication of such conduct.

Reporting

Any adult (person 18 years or older) who forms a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed in Victoria by an adult against a child (under 16 years) has an obligation to report that information to Victoria Police as soon as possible. Failure to disclose the information to police is a criminal offence - a failure to disclose offence.

A ‘reasonable belief’ does not require proof - it is formed if a reasonable person in the same position would have formed the belief on the same grounds.

Members, leadership team, employees and volunteers must make a report to the GCB President if the person has a significant concern for the wellbeing of a child in accordance with the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic).

Investigating

If the appropriate child protection service or the police decide to conduct an investigation of this report, all officials, employees, volunteers, and associated stakeholder must co-operate fully with the investigation.

Whether or not the authorities decide to conduct an investigation, the GCB President 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 GCB President may decide to conduct such an investigation. All members, leadership team, employees, volunteers and associated stakeholder must fully co-operate with the investigation.

The GCB President will ensure that all investigations are confidential; however from time to time other stakeholders may need to be consulted in conjuction with the investigation.

After an initial review and a determination that suspects abuse warrants an additional investigation, the GCB President shall co-ordinate 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.

All investigations will be conducted according to the Victorian and Commonwealth legislation.

Reviewing

Every two years, and following every reportable incident, a review shall be conducted to assess whether the organisation’s child protection policy and procedure require modification to better protect the children under the organisation’s care.

Breaching of Code of Conduct and/or Child Safe Policy

Any breach of GCB policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or membership. If it is alleged that an official, employee, or volunteer has breached the child protection policy they may be stood down. Any allegation in relation to child abuse will be regarded as a serious matter and immediately referred to the GCB Committee.

Independent contractors and other non-employees who are found to have breached this policy, and/or breached the child protection policy will result in the termination of their contract or services with the GCB.

Authorisation

Christian Biscombe
GCB President