“The School’s policies which are made from time to time are made pursuant to the requirements set out in section 47 of the Education Act 1990 No 8 (NSW) and of the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) requirements for registration of the school.”
Statement of Commitment to Child Safety
All children and young people who come to Warakirri College have a right to feel and be safe. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people. We are committed to providing a child-safe and child-friendly environment, where children and young people are safe and feel safe, and are able to actively participate in decisions that affect their lives.
We have zero tolerance for child abuse and harm, and we are committed to acting in students’ best interests and keeping them safe from harm.
The School regards its child protection responsibilities with the utmost importance, and is committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure compliance with all relevant child protection laws and regulations, and the maintenance of a child-safe culture. Each member of the School community has a responsibility to understand the important and specific role that they play, individually and collectively, to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of all students is at the forefront of all that they do, and every decision that they make.
This Policy document is intended to be provided and made available to staff including employees and contractors during their employment or engagement with the Warakirri College to ensure a clear understanding of their duties and obligations under the key items of child protection legislation in NSW. This Policy outlines the key concepts and definitions under the relevant legislation including mandatory reporters, reportable conduct, and risk management. It also sets out expected standards of behaviour in relation to employees and contractors and their relationships with students.
The safety, protection and well-being of all students is of fundamental importance to Warakirri College.
Warakirri College and staff have a range of different obligations relating to the safety, protection and welfare of students including:
The purpose of this Policy is to summarise the obligations imposed by child protection legislation on Warakirri College and on employees, contractors and volunteers at Warakirri College and to provide guidelines as to how Warakirri College will deal with certain matters.
Warakirri College conducts annual training sessions to ensure staff are kept up to date on their obligations and responsibilities under the Child Protection Legislation.
Warakirri College recognises that child protection is a community responsibility.
The policy applies to all Warakirri College Staff across all campuses, and covers the following aspects of child protection, including the three key pieces of child protection legislation in New South Wales:
3.1 Refer to the ‘Definitions’ and terms as appended to this Policy:
APPENDIX A The Care and Protection Act
APPENDIX B The Children’s Guardian Act 2019
APPENDIX C The WWC Act
This Policy has been prepared with reference to the following:
4.1 The Association of Independent Schools (AIS) NSW – Child Protection Policy
The following Policies relate to child protection, which you need to be aware of and understand (but not limited to):
4.2 P 079 Staff Code of Conduct Policy
4.3 P 078 Security Site Management Policy
4.4 P 077 Safe and Supportive Environment Policy
4.5 P 072 Complaints & Grievances Policy
4.6 P 115 Children in the Workplace Policy
4.7 Keep Them Safe: A Shared Approach to Child Well-Being (2010)
5.1 Your obligations to report
While this Policy sets out below circumstances in which the legislation requires reporting of particular child protection issues, the School requires staff to report any concern they may have about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person to the Principal.
If the allegation involves the Principal Warakirri staff are required to report to the Chairman of the Warakirri College Board.
This obligation is part of the School’s overall commitment to the safety, welfare and well-being of children.
5.2 Warakirri College’s staff who have direct contact with students are informed annually of their legal responsibilities related to child protection, mandatory reporting, applicable policy, procedures and other relevant expectations of the college.
5.2.1 Warakirri College staff:
5.3 Warakirri staff obligations regarding mandatory reporting of children at risk of significant harm are stated within this Policy:
APPENDIX A The Care and Protection Act
5.4 The details outlined within this Appendix include:
Allegations and investigation of reportable conduct by an Employee
5.5 The Principal of Warakirri College has a requirement to notify the New South Wales Children’s Guardian of all allegations of reportable conduct by an ‘Employee’ and the outcome of the college’s investigation of these allegations, as stated within this Policy:
APPENDIX B Children’s Guardian Act 2019
5.6 The details outlined within this Appendix include:
Working with Children Check
5.7 The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) is responsible for employment screening for child-related employment. A Working With Children Check (WWCC) is a prerequisite for anyone in child-related work, and other requirements as stated within this Policy:
5.8 The details outlined within this Appendix include:
APPENDIX A: THE CARE AND PROTECTION ACT
The Care and Protection Act provides for mandatory reporting of children at risk of significant harm.
NOTE: Any concern regarding the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a student must be reported to the Principal.
1. Who is a mandatory reporter?
Under the Care and Protection Act persons who:
All teachers and School Counsellors are mandatory reporters. Other Warakirri College employees may also be mandatory reporters. If you are not sure whether you are a mandatory reporter you should speak to the Principal.
2. When must a report be made to Community Services?
2.1 What is the threshold?
A mandatory reporter must, where they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child (under 16 years of age) is at risk of significant harm, report to the NSW Department of Communities and Justice ( DCJ) as soon as practicable, the name, or a description, of the child and the grounds for suspecting that the child is at risk of significant harm.
In addition, while not mandatory, Warakirri College considers that a report should also be made to the Department of Communities and Justice where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a young person (16 or 17 years of age) is at risk of significant harm and there are current concerns about the safety, welfare and well-being of the young person.
2.2 Reasonable grounds
‘Reasonable grounds’ refers to the need to have an objective basis for suspecting that a child or young person may be at risk of significant harm, based on:
‘Reasonable grounds’ does not mean that you are required to confirm your suspicions or have clear proof before making a report.
2.3 Significant harm
A child or young person is ‘at risk of significant harm’ if current concerns exist for the safety, welfare or well-being of the child or young person because of the presence, to a significant extent, of any one or more of the following circumstances:
2.4 Other relevant definitions
Policy definition of significant harm
A child or young person is at risk of significant harm if the circumstances that are causing concern for the safety, welfare or well-being of the child or young person are present to a significant extent.
What is meant by ‘significant’ in the phrase ‘to a significant extent’ is that which is sufficiently serious to warrant a response by a statutory authority irrespective of a family’s consent.
What is significant is not minor or inconsequential and may reasonably be expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child or young person’s safety, welfare or well-being.
In the case of an unborn child, what is significant is not minor or inconsequential, and may reasonably be expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child after the child’s birth.
The significance can result from a single act or omission or an accumulation of these.
Child is a person under the age of 16 years for the purposes of the Care and Protection Act.
Child abuse and neglect
There are different forms of child abuse. These include neglect, sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Neglect is the continued failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child with the basic things needed for his or her proper growth and development, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care and adequate supervision.
Physical abuse is a non-accidental injury or pattern of injuries to a child caused by a parent, caregiver or any other person. It includes but is not limited to injuries which are caused by excessive discipline, severe beatings or shakings, cigarette burns, attempted strangulation and female genital mutilation.
Injuries include bruising, lacerations or welts, burns, fractures or dislocation of joints.
Hitting a child around the head or neck and/or using a stick, belt or other object to discipline or punishing a child (in a non-trivial way) is a crime.
Serious psychological harm can occur where the behaviour of their parent or caregiver damages the confidence and self-esteem of the child or young person, resulting in serious emotional deprivation or trauma.
Although it is possible for ‘one-off’ incidents to cause serious harm, in general it is the frequency, persistence and duration of the parental or carer behaviour that is instrumental in defining the consequences for the child.
This can include a range of behaviours such as excessive criticism, withholding affection, exposure to domestic violence, intimidation or threatening behaviour.
Sexual abuse is when someone involves a child or young person in a sexual activity by using their power over them or taking advantage of their trust. Often children are bribed or threatened physically and psychologically to make them participate in the activity. Child sexual abuse is a crime.
Child wellbeing concerns are safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns for a child or young person that do not meet the mandatory reporting threshold, risk of significant harm.
Young person means a person who is aged 16 years or above but who is under the age of 18 years for the purposes of the Care and Protection Act.
3. What should you do if you consider that a mandatory report is required?
Reporting by the School about these matters to Department of Communities and Justice and, where necessary, the police, is generally undertaken by the head of Campus or Principal. This is in accordance with best practice principles and is the expectation of Warakirri College.
If Warakirri staff have a concern that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm they should contact the Head of Campus or Principal as soon as possible to discuss whether the case reaches the threshold of ‘risk of significant harm’ and the steps required to report the matter.
However, if there is an immediate danger to the child or young person and the Principal or next most senior member of staff (Head of Campus) is not contactable Warakirri staff should speak to the Police and/or the Child Protection Helpline directly and then advise the Principal or next most senior member of staff at the School as soon as possible.
Warakirri staff are not required to, and must not, undertake any investigation of the matter themselves.
Warakirri staff are not to inform the parents or caregivers that a report to the Department of Communities and Justice has been made.
Warakirri staff are required to deal with the matter confidentially and only disclose it to the persons referred to above or as required to comply with Warakirri College’s mandatory reporting obligations. Failure to maintain confidentiality will not only be a breach of this policy but could expose Warakirri College and staff to potential civil proceedings for defamation.
4. What should you do if you have a concern that is below the mandatory reporting threshold?
While the Care and Protection Act outlines a mandatory reporter’s obligation to report to the Department of Communities and Justice, as an employee of Warakirri College, any concern regarding the safety, welfare and wellbeing of a student must be reported to the Principal.
Warakirri staff are required to deal with all reports regarding the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a student with confidentially and only disclose it to the Principal and any other person the Principal nominates. Failure to do so will be a breach of this policy.
APPENDIX B: THE CHILDREN’S GUARDIAN ACT 2019
The Children’s Guardian Act requires the heads of certain agencies, including non-government schools in New South Wales, to notify the New South Wales Children’s Guardian of all allegations of reportable conduct by an ’employee’ and the outcome of the School’s investigation of these allegations.
An ’employee’ includes employees, contractors, volunteers, work experience participants, clergy, ministers’ of religion and instructors of religion who provide pastoral or liturgical services. In this part where there is a reference to an employee it includes all these persons.
Under the Children’s Guardian Act the Head of Agency must:
Warakirri staff are informed annually of their responsibility to prevent, identify and report any cases of reportable conduct in compliance with the Children’s Guardian Act 2019.
Warakirri staff must report any concerns you may have about any other employee engaging in reportable conduct or any allegation of ‘reportable conduct’ that has been made to them, to the Principal, including information about yourself. If Warakirri staff are not sure whether the conduct is reportable conduct but consider that it is inappropriate behaviour they must still report it.
Warakirri staff must also report to the Principal if they become aware that an employee has been charged with or convicted of an offence (including a finding of guilt without the court proceeding to a conviction) involving reportable conduct.
This includes information relating to Warakirri staff.
If the allegation involves the Principal, Warakirri staff are required to report to the Chairman of the Warakirri College Board.
The Principal is the contact point for parents if they wish to report an allegation of reportable conduct against an employee.
2 What is reportable conduct?
2.1 Definition of reportable conduct
Reportable conduct is defined as:
Reportable conduct does not extend to:
2.2 Other relevant definitions
Set out below are definitions of the various terms referred to above in relation to reportable conduct.
Behaviour that causes psychological harm to a child is behaviour that is obviously or very clearly unreasonable and results in significant harm or trauma to a child. There needs to be a proven causal link between the inappropriate behaviour and the harm, and the harm must be more than transient.
Child is a person under the age of 18 years for the purposes of the Children’s Guardian Act .
Ill-treatment captures those circumstances where a person treats a child in an unreasonable and seriously inappropriate, improper, inhumane or cruel manner. The focus is on the alleged conduct rather than the actual effect of the conduct on the child.
Ill-treatment can include disciplining or correcting a child in an obviously unreasonable and seriously inappropriate manner; making excessive and/or degrading demands on a child; hostile use of force towards a child; and/or pattern of hostile or unreasonable and seriously inappropriate, degrading comments or behaviour towards a child.
Neglect includes either an action or inaction by a person who has care responsibility towards a child. The nature of the employee’s responsibilities provides the context against which the conduct needs to be assessed.
1. Supervisory neglect:
2. Carer neglect:
3. Failure to protect from abuse:
4. Reckless act (or failure to act):
Physical Assault is any act by which a person intentionally inflicts unjustified use of physical force against another. An assault can also occur if a person causes another person to reasonably apprehend that unjustified force is going to be used against them. Even if a person who inflicts physical harm or causes another person to reasonably apprehend physical harm does not actually intend to inflict the harm or cause fear, they may still have committed an assault if they acted ‘recklessly’.
‘Recklessness’ in this context relates to circumstances when the person ought to have known that their actions would cause a person physical harm or cause them to fear injury.
Assaults can include hitting, pushing, shoving, throwing objects or making threats to physically harm a child.
PSOA ‘person subject to the allegation’.
Reportable conviction means a conviction (including a finding of guilt without the court proceeding to a conviction), in NSW or elsewhere, of an offence involving reportable conduct.
Sexual Misconduct has two categories which include:
The alleged conduct must have been committed against, with or in the presence of a child.
Crossing professional boundaries
Sexual misconduct includes behaviour that can reasonably be construed as involving an inappropriate and overly personal or intimate:
a child or young person, or a group of children or young persons.
The Warakirri College Staff Code of Conduct gives guidance to employees about appropriate professional boundaries.
For employees who either intentionally breach this code or have demonstrated an inability to apply the code appropriately, it may be necessary to provide more detailed written advice about what constitutes appropriate behaviour.
Sexually explicit comments and other overtly sexual behaviour
Behaviour involving sexually explicit comments and other overtly sexual behaviour which can constitute sexual misconduct. Some forms of this behaviour also involve crossing professional boundaries. This conduct may include:
Sexual Offences encompasses all criminal offences involving a sexual element that are ‘committed against, with or in the presence of a child’.
These offences include (but are not limited to) the following:
3. What happens when an allegation of reportable conduct is made?
3.1 Initial steps
Once an allegation of reportable conduct against an employee is received, the Head of Agency (the Principal) is required to:
3.2 Investigation principles
The School will:
3.3 Investigation steps
In an investigation the Head of Agency (the Principal) or appointed investigator will generally:
The steps outlined above may need to be varied on occasion to meet particular circumstances. For example it may be necessary to take different steps where the matter is also being investigated by the Department of Communities and Justice or the NSW Police.
A PSOA may have an appropriate support person with them during the interview process. Such a person is there for support only and as a witness to the proceedings and not as an advocate or to take an active role.
4. Risk management
Risk management means identifying the potential for an incident or accident to occur and taking steps to reduce the likelihood or severity of its occurrence.
The Head of Agency (the Principal) is responsible for risk management throughout the investigation and will assess risk at the beginning of the investigation, during and at the end of the investigation.
4.1 Initial risk assessment
One of the first steps following an allegation of reportable conduct against an employee is for the Head of Agency (the Principal) to conduct a risk assessment. The purpose of this initial risk assessment is to identify and minimise the risks to:
The factors which will be considered during the risk assessment include:
The Head of Agency (the Principal) will take appropriate action to minimise risks. This may include the PSOA being temporarily relieved of some duties, being required not to have contact with certain students, or being suspended from duty. When taking action to address any risks identified, the School will take into consideration both the needs of the child(ren) and the PSOA.
Please Note: A decision to take action on the basis of a risk assessment is not indicative of the findings of the matter. Until the investigation is completed and a finding is made, any action, such as an employee being suspended, is not to be considered to be an indication that the alleged conduct by the employee did occur.
4.2 Ongoing Risk Management
The Head of Agency (the Principal) will continually monitor risk during the investigation including in the light of any new relevant information that emerges.
4.3 Risk Management at the Conclusion of the Investigation
At the completion of the investigation, a finding will be made in relation to the allegation and a decision made by the Head of Agency (the Principal) regarding what action, if any, is required in relation to the PSOA, the child(ren) involved and any other parties.
5. What information will be provided to the PSOA?
The PSOA will be advised:
The PSOA does not automatically have the right to:
The WWC Act enables a person who has a finding referred to the OCG under the Act to request access to the records held by the School in relation to the finding of misconduct involving children (see Part C section 3).
6. Disciplinary Action
As a result of the allegations, investigation or final findings, the School may take disciplinary action against the PSOA (including termination of employment).
In relation to any disciplinary action the School will:
It is important when dealing with allegations of reportable conduct that the matter be dealt with as confidentially as possible.
The School requires that all parties maintain confidentiality during the investigation including in relation to the handling and storing of documents and records.
Records about allegations of reportable conduct against employees will be kept in a secure area and will be accessible by the Head of Agency (the Principal) or with the Head of Agency’s (the Principal’s) express authority.
No employee may comment to the media about an allegation of reportable conduct unless expressly authorised by the Principal to do so.
If you become aware of a breach of confidentiality in relation to a reportable conduct allegation you must advise the Principal.
APPENDIX C: WWC Act
The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) is responsible for employment screening for child related employment. A Working With Children Check (Check) is a prerequisite for anyone in child-related work. It involves a national criminal history check and review of reported workplace misconduct findings. The result of a Check is either a clearance to work with children for five years, or a bar against working with children. Cleared applicants are subject to ongoing monitoring by the OCG, and any relevant new records which appear against a cleared applicant’s name may lead to the Check being revoked.
It is the responsibility of the child-related worker to ensure that when they are eligible to apply for a Check or when their Check is up for renewal that they do so.
The object of the WWC Act is to protect children:
Schools are required to:
Child-related workers and eligible volunteers are required to:
All volunteers are required to:
3. Relevant Definitions
This bar is applied based on a decision made by the OCG, following a risk assessment. This person is barred against working with children.
An interim bar is issued to high risk individuals to prevent them from continuing to work with children while a risk assessment is conducted. An interim bar may be applied for up to 12 months. If an interim bar remains in place for six months or longer, it may be appealed against through the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
Not everyone who is subject to a risk assessment will receive an interim bar; only those representing a serious and immediate risk to children.
Interim bars are issued only for risks considered likely to result in a final bar.
3.2 Child-related work
Child-related work includes, but not limited to work in the following sectors:
3.3 Child-related worker
A person who has physical contact or face to face contact with children in work outlined above in 3.2, including schools. This may include volunteer work.
A child-related worker may commence work once they have completed the Check application process. An application is completed when the online application form is complete and the worker’s identity has been proven at the NSW motor registry or Council Agency and the fee has been paid (if in paid work).
If you are unclear if your role is child-related you should speak with the Principal.
3.4 Disqualified person
A disqualified person is a person who has been convicted, or against whom proceedings have been commenced for a disqualifying offence outlined in Schedule 2 of WWC Act.
A disqualified person is a person who has a bar preventing them from working with children in child-related work.
It is an offence for an employer to knowingly engage a child-related worker when they do not hold a Check or who has a bar or an interim bar.
It is an offence for an employee to engage in child-related worker when they do not hold a Check or has a bar or an interim bar.
3.5 Findings of misconduct involving children
The school will report to the OCG when a finding has been made that the person (an employee of the school) subject to the finding engaged in:
The School will advise the person that the OCG has been notified of a finding of misconduct involving children.
The WWC Act enables a person who has a finding referred to the OCG under the Act to request access to the records held by the School in relation to the finding of misconduct involving children.
3.6 Reporting body
Independent Schools which are members of the AISNSW are defined as a reporting body by the WWC Act.
Section 35 of the WWC Act requires this School to notify the OCG findings of misconduct involving children made against a child-related worker. The school may also be obliged to report, amend or provide additional information to the OCG as outlined in the WWC Act.
3.7 Risk assessment
Risk assessment is an evaluation of an individual’s suitability for child-related work.
The OCG will conduct a risk assessment on a person’s suitability to work with children when a new record is received which triggers a risk assessment. This may include an offence under Schedule 1, pattern of behaviour or offences involving violence of sexual misconduct representing a risk to children, findings of misconduct involving children or notification made to OCG by the Ombudsman.
3.8 Working With Children Check Clearance
A Working with Children Check (Check) means authorisation under the WWC Act to engage in child-related work. An employee will be issued with a number which is to be provided to the School to verify the status of an employee’s Check.
4.2 NSW Department of Communities and Justice www.community.nsw.gov.au
4.6 The Children’s Guardian (formerly the NSW Commission for Children and Young People) www.ocg.nsw.gov.au
Updated: 21/09/2020. Responsibility: Warakirri College Principal
Contact us to find out if Warakirri College is the right fit for you. Please note that places are limited, so reach out to our team today! No referral required.
Level 2, 138 Queen Street, Campbelltown NSW 2560
Level 1, 3 Hamilton Rd,Fairfield NSW 2165
6A Watsford Road,Campbelltown NSW 2560
7 Sunnyholt Rd, Blacktown NSW 2148