The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000(Qld) and the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Regulation 2001 (Qld) require regulated organisations and businesses to develop and implement a child and youth risk-management strategy which aims to keep children and young people safe.
To comply with the legislative framework, a child and youth risk-management strategy must include eight minimum requirements, grouped under the headings of commitment, capability, concern, and consistency. These eight requirements are addressed below.
1. 1 Statement of Commitment
This Ginger Sport Risk Management Policy outlines our commitment to maintaining the safety and wellbeing of the children in our care. We explicitly state our focus and commitment to safety and wellbeing in this document.
1. 2 Code of Conduct
Below is a code of conduct for coaches, other paid employees, visitors, and volunteers when interacting with children and young people.
Ginger Sport is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people, especially those who use our services. Our workers will treat all children and young people with respect and understanding at all times and listen to their concerns. To ensure children and young people are kept safe from harm, the following code of conduct for interacting with children and young people applies.
Who must comply with the code of conduct?
This code of conduct applies to all paid employees, volunteers, and visitors who enter our service environment.
- Respect the rights, dignity, and worth of every person, regardless of their abilities, gender, religion, or cultural background
- Support all efforts to remove any form of abuse in this organisation and encourage a safe and supportive service environment
- Ensure that any physical contact with others is appropriate to the situation and necessary for the person’s skill development
- Refrain from developing close personal relationships with the children outside of the coach/player relationship
- Refrain from using abusive, derogatory, or offensive language
- Impart knowledge and skills of the game in a respectful and encouraging manner
- Always consider the health, safety and welfare of the children playing
- Not show favouritism toward talented players
- Remember that junior players participate for pleasure and friendship, and winning is only part of the fun
Appropriate behaviour applies to language, relationships, and physical contact. Examples of what we consider appropriate and inappropriate are listed in the table below.
|Using encouraging and positive words Open and honest communication||Insults, criticisms, name calling Bullying, swearing, yelling Sexually suggestive comments or jokes|
|Being a positive role model Trust-based relationships* Empowering children to share in decision making||Favouritism or gifts Coerce a child to spend time alone with you Excessive time spent alone with children Contact outside working hours Bullying, harassment ‘Grooming’ children|
|Allowing personal space Touching due to medical emergency or protecting from physical harm*Non-threatening||Violent or aggressive (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing) Kissing or touching of a sexual nature consistent with ‘grooming’|
|Appropriate clothing use of internet/mobile phone for work-related purposes||Using alcohol or other substances before or during work Inappropriate clothing Sending inappropriate emails/texts/messages|
2. 1 Recruitment, Selection, Training, and Management Procedures
Recruitment and Selection
Ginger Sport has recruitment and selection processes in place which allow us to ascertain a candidate’s suitability for working with children and young people. We use carefully worded position descriptions and job advertisements when advertising positions to ensure suitable applicants are attracted and unsuitable applicants are deterred.
Training and Management
As already outlined in our Risk Management Policy we have extensive staff training and professional development in place. We have an induction package for each new employee, and staff have their own intranet site on our website where all information is available. We have management structures in place that keep lines of communication open and all staff accountable for their actions, including mentoring and 360 degree feedback channels. Parents and caregivers have open access to all of our policies, including this Risk Management Policy, through our website.
3. CONCERNS & REPORTING GUIDELINES
3.1 Disclosure and Suspicions – Policies and Procedures
Ginger Sport has policies and procedures in place for:
- handling disclosures, allegations, and/or suspicions of harm; and
- managing breaches of our risk-management policy and code of conduct.
In this section we:
- distinguish between what is a disclosure, allegation, or suspicion of harm; and what is a breach of the risk-management policy;
- iterate clear guidelines in relation to how these issues will be managed, including consequences for breaches; and
- iterate clear guidelines on how all concerned parties will be supported in the instance of a breach or allegation of harm to a child.
Policy and Procedures for Handling Disclosures or Suspicions of Harm
The following policy and procedures will ensure that staff respond as quickly as possible and in the best interests of the child or young person under 18 years of age, when disclosures or suspicions of harm are received. Ginger Sport recognises that children and young people are vulnerable members of the community and that extra measures must be taken to protect and support them.
All staff will receive training in identifying risks of harm and handling disclosures or suspicions of harm as soon as possible upon commencing employment. All staff will report disclosed or suspected harm to either the Department of Communities Child Safety and Disability Services or the Queensland Police Service who will decide on an appropriate course of action.
Who must comply with this policy?
The following people must comply with this policy:
Harm may be categorised into the following types:
- physical abuse, for example: beating; shaking; burning; biting; causing bruise or fractures by inappropriate discipline; giving children alcohol, drugs or inappropriate medication
- emotional or psychological abuse, for example: constant yelling, insults, swearing, criticism, bullying, not giving children positive support and encouragement
- neglect for example: not giving children sufficient food, clothing, enough sleep, hygiene, medical care, leaving children alone, or children missing school
- sexual abuse or exploitation, for example: sexual jokes or touching, exposing children to sexual acts or pornography, or having sexual intercourse with a child or young person under 16 years of age (even if the child appears to have consented).
Suspicion of harm
You can suspect harm if:
- you are concerned by significant changes in behaviour or the presence of new, unexplained, and suspicious injuries.
Disclosure of harm
A disclosure of harm occurs when someone, including a child, tells you about harm that has happened or is likely to happen.
Disclosures of harm may start with:
- “I think I saw…”
- “Somebody told me that…”
- “Just think you should know…”
- “I’m not sure what I want you to do, but…”
Procedures to minimise harm to children and young people
Ginger Sport works to minimise harm to children and young people by acting in a manner that supports their interests and wellbeing, by:
- making sure that children know that it is their right to feel safe at all times
- teaching them about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in general
- letting them know who is and who is not an employee in the organisation
- allowing them to be a part of decision-making processes
- making sure they are safe by monitoring their activities and ensuring their environment meets all safety requirements
- taking anything a child or young person says seriously and following up their concerns
- letting them know there is no secret too awful, no story too terrible, that they can’t share with someone they trust
- teaching them about appropriate and inappropriate contact in a manner appropriate to their age and level of understanding
- teaching children and young people to say ‘no’ to anything that makes them feel unsafe
- encouraging them to tell staff of any suspicious activities or people
- listening to children and young people and letting them know that staff are available for them if they have any concerns.
Procedures for receiving a disclosure of harm
When receiving a disclosure of harm:
- remain calm and find a private place to talk
- don’t promise that you’ll keep a secret; tell them they have done the right thing in telling you, but that you’ll need to tell someone who can help keep them safe
- only ask enough questions to confirm the need to report the matter; probing questions could cause distress, confusion, and interfere with any later enquiries
- do not attempt to conduct your own investigation or mediate an outcome between the parties involved.
Reporting guidelines for disclosures or suspicions of harm
Following are the actions Ginger Sport will take immediately following a disclosure or suspicion of harm.
Documenting a suspicion of harm
If you or others have concerns about the safety of a child, record your concerns in a non-judgmental and accurate manner as soon as possible. If a parent explains a noticeable mark on a child, record your own observations as well as accurate details of the conversation. If you see unsafe or harmful actions towards a child in your care, intervene immediately, provided it is safe to do so. If it is unsafe, call the police for assistance.
Documenting a disclosure of harm
Complete an incident report form or record the details as soon as possible so that they are accurately captured. Include:
- time, date, and place of the disclosure
- ‘word for word’ what happened and what was said, including anything you said and any actions that have been taken
- date of report and signature.
If you need to take notes as the person is telling you, explain that you are taking a record in case any later enquiry occurs.
Reporting the disclosure or suspicion of harm to authorities
Ginger Sport will not conduct its own enquiries in relation to the disclosure or suspicion of harm or try to come to an agreement between the parties involved. The person who receives a disclosure or suspects harm is to contact the relevant authority to ensure information provided is comprehensive and accurate.
Report the matter to:
- Department of Communities Child Safety and Disability Services on freecall 1800 811 810; or
- Queensland Police Service on 131 444.
Actions following a disclosure of harm
Support and counselling will be offered to all parties involved.
Processes for those involved in the report
The child or young person
The children and young people involved should be offered appropriate counselling and support.
The person who made the report
Under Section 22 of the Child Protection Act 1999, a person who reports suspected child abuse is protected from civil or criminal legal actions and is not considered to have broken any code of conduct or ethics.
Details of the person who made the report are to be kept completely confidential and will not be made available to the family of the child or young person, or the person against whom the allegation has been made.
The person against whom the allegation has been made
If the person responding to the allegation of harm is an employee of Ginger Sport, we will review their duties. If they continue to interact/work with children, we will ensure that they are appropriately supervised at all times. We may seek legal advice as to the extent to which that person can carry out duties in the organisation.
Ginger Sport’s policy and procedures for handling disclosures or suspicions of harm will be reviewed and assessed regularly to ensure that our organisation is continuing to provide a safe and supportive service environment.
3.2 Managing Breaches
Plan for Managing Breaches
This plan outlines the steps to be taken following a breach of the child and youth risk-management strategy in order to address the breach in a fair and supportive manner.
A breach is any action or inaction by any member of the organisation, including children and young people, that fails to comply with any part of the strategy. This includes any breach in relation to:
- statement of commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children and the protection of children from harm
- code of conduct for interacting with children and young people;
- procedures for recruiting, selecting, training, and managing paid employees and volunteers
- policies and procedures for handling disclosures or suspicions of harm, including reporting guidelines
- policies and procedures for implementing and reviewing the children and youth risk-management strategy and maintaining an employee register
- risk-management plans for high-risk activities and special events
- strategies for communication and support
All stakeholders are to be made aware of the actions or inactions that form a breach, as well as the potential outcomes of breaching the child and youth risk-management strategy.
Who must comply with this plan?
- employees, volunteers and contractors
- committee members
- work experience students/students on placement
- parents and carers
- children and young people
Processes to manage a breach of the child and youth risk-management strategy
Breaches will be managed in a fair, unbiased, and supportive manner. The following will occur:
- all people concerned will be advised of the process
- all people concerned will be able to provide their version of events
- the details of the breach, including the versions of all parties and the outcome, will be recorded
- matters discussed in relation to the breach will be kept confidential
- an appropriate outcome will be decided
Suitable outcomes for breaches
Depending on the nature of the breach, outcomes may include:
- emphasising the relevant component of the child and youth risk-management strategy, for example, the code of conduct
- providing closer supervision
- further education and training
- mediating between those involved in the incident (where appropriate)
- disciplinary procedures if necessary
- reviewing current policies and procedures and developing new policies and procedures if necessary
3.3 High-Risk Activities & Special Events
Ginger Sport conducts special events from time to time. Our risk-management plan for high-risk or special events will follow a number of steps as follows.
Step 1 – Describe the activity
Step 2 – Identify risks
Step 3 – Analyse the risk
Step 4 – Evaluate the risk
Step 5 – Manage the risk
Step 6 – Review
4.1 Blue Card Compliance
Procedures for reviewing the child and youth risk-management strategy
To ensure that the child and youth risk-management strategy remains current and effective in identifying and minimising risks of harm to children, this strategy will be monitored and reviewed.
Frequency of reviews
This strategy will be reviewed annually in accordance with the legislation. In the event that the organisation identifies concerns, particularly following an incident, the child and youth risk-management strategy will be reviewed.
Who will be involved in the review?
Employees and volunteers, parents and carers, children and young people, and other stakeholders will be involved in the review of the child and youth risk-management strategy.
What will be covered in the review?
The child and youth risk-management strategy will be reviewed in its entirety. The date of the review, where the review took place, who was present, and what was discussed will be recorded.
Issues to be considered in the review include:
- whether stakeholders adhered to the policies and procedures
- the incidents relating to the protection of children or young people from harm and the outcome of these incidents
- the effectiveness of policies and procedures in preventing or minimising harm to children and young people
- the frequency of training in the child and youth risk-management strategy
Following the review
Stakeholders will be advised of any changes to policies and procedures, and training will be provided if necessary.
Procedures for maintaining the employee register
Ginger Sport is required to establish and maintain an employee register. The employee register is a written record of all business operators, paid employees, and volunteers involved in child-related activities within your organisation. The organisation will regularly review and update the employee register.
4.2 Strategies for Communication and Support
We strive to communicate effectively with all Ginger Sport stakeholders. All parents are welcome to discuss concerns with us. Our child and youth risk-management strategy is publicly available on our website and acknowledged from time to time in our regular newsletters. All staff are provided with a copy on employment and are reminded of its existence through regular emails and, where appropriate, during professional development and training.