Purpose

To prevent foreseeable harm to children and young people in the organisation’s care. To ensure that all volunteers who work within our organisation are assessed for their suitability to work with children under the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld) (where exemptions do not apply). To ensure that all people involved with the operations of Whitsunday Discovery Tours are aware of their responsibilities in relation to the above.

Who Must Comply with this Policy?

Volunteers, facilitators, employees. Participating organisations associated with our programs. Children and young people.

Statement of Commitment

Whitsunday Discovery Tours is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people who use its services and is dedicated to protecting them from harm. The organisation therefore:

  • Ensures that children and young people are always treated with respect and understanding.
  • Ensures that those who regularly deal with children and young people within the organisation undergo the Working with Children Check and hold a positive notice Blue Card (where exemptions do not apply).
  • Prohibits any forms of abuse against children.
  • Carefully selects, screens and monitors people whose roles require them to have regular contact with children.
  • Ensures the organisation’s Code of Conduct for Interacting with Children and Young People is promoted, enforced, and reviewed.
  • Provides clear procedures for raising concerns or complaints.
  • Provides education and/or information on child abuse and child protection.

Code of Conduct

  • Place the safety and welfare of children and young people as a priority.
  • Use appropriate language when dealing with children and young people.
  • Do not make inappropriate physical contact with any children or young people.
  • If coaching or facilitating, maintain professional relationships with children and young people and treat them with the same respect you would offer an adult.
  • Do not tolerate bullying, either amongst children and young people, or from adults towards children and young people.
  • Report all violent and illegal acts.
  • Set a good example for children and young people by the way you dress, speak and act.

Recruitment, Training and Management of Volunteers and Contractors

To assist with effective child protection, Whitsunday Discovery Tours will implement appropriate recruitment, selection, screening, induction, monitoring and management of facilitators, volunteers and contractors who work with children and young people associated with our programs.

Recruitment

  • Volunteers will come from varied sources. Local volunteer groups. Guest speakers. Friends or relatives with expertise and knowledge. Work-experience trainee teachers, science students and graduates.
  • Facilitators and contractors include individuals and other organisations participating in our programs.
  • The Executive is responsible for recruiting and will implement the Child Protection Risk Management Strategy in all recruiting activities.
  • Applicants for positions regularly dealing with children will be required to demonstrate an ability to comply with child safety requirements and will be informed that it will be mandatory for them to hold and maintain a Blue Card while working for the organisation (where an exemption does not apply).

Selection and Screening

  • Volunteers and individual contractors will be screened to ensure that they fit with the organisation and with the positions to be filled. In screening volunteers, the organisation recognises the importance of assessing the skills, experience and availability of potential volunteers, or their commitment to gathering the necessary skills and experience, to match them to the volunteer needs of the organisation.
  • Other organisations as contractors will be screened to ensure compliance.

Induction and Training

Once new volunteers have been successfully recruited and screened, the organisation will ensure their effective induction. Induction will include making workers aware of the following:

  • The organisation’s commitment to an environment which is safe and friendly to children and young people.
  • The organisation’s child and youth friendly policies, Codes of Conduct, and Procedures.
  •  Procedures to follow when harm is disclosed or suspected.
  • Their rights and responsibilities.
  • What is expected of them.
  • What they can and can’t do – the boundaries of their roles.
  • The roles of the key people in the organisation and to whom the volunteer should report or go to for help.
  • What to expect if there is an allegation of harm made against them or to them.
  • Reporting and grievance procedures.
  • Once selected, volunteers regularly working with children and young people will be required to obtain a Blue Card (where an exemption does not apply). Training will be provided to volunteers to outline their responsibilities under the organisation’s Codes of Conduct and other organisational policies.

Training Policy for volunteers will aim to:

  • Enhance the skills and knowledge of workers, enabling them to do their job effectively.
  • Reduce exposure to risks.
  • Support friendly environments for children and young people.
  • Improve workers knowledge base and Include training materials and strategies to help volunteers identify and manage risks of harm.

Training will not only be undertaken when a volunteer begins service. Rather, ongoing improvement grows from continuous learning, meaning that regular training opportunities will be made available to volunteers.

Handling Disclosures and Suspicions of Harm, Receiving a Disclosure

Training will also be provided to alert workers to the nature of harm which can occur to children and young people and how to respond to disclosures or suspicions of harm.

When staff or volunteers are confronted with disclosures of harm or suspect harm to children and young people, they will respond as quickly as possible, professionally and in the best interests of the child or young person subjected to the alleged harm. Complaints will be dealt with promptly, seriously, sensitively, and confidentially.

Any workers confronted with disclosures of harm will:

  • Not react in a shocked or critical way.
  • Reassure the child or young person that they have done the right thing in telling.
  • Say they need to tell someone else who can help the child or young person.
  • Reassure the child or young person that they will only tell someone who will make them safe.
  • Ultimately believe the child or young person and assume that they are telling the truth.
  •  Ask only non-leading questions.
  • Only ask the child or young person enough questions to determine the need to report the matter to the Queensland Police Service or the Department of Communities, Child Safety Services
  • Complete an Incident Report.
  • Immediately report the incident to the Executive.

Dealing with a Disclosure

Following a disclosure of harm from a child or young person, the Executive will investigate whether the allegation should be reported to the Queensland Police Service or the Department of Communities, Child Safety Services. If the incident(s) are serious or criminal in nature, we will respond immediately. All other allegations will be actioned as soon as possible, and within 24 hours where possible.

For allegations of a serious or criminal nature, we will follow these guidelines:

  • If the allegation involves a child at risk of harm, the incident will immediately be reported to the police and/or the Department of Communities, Child Safety Services.
  • The Executive will contact the Department of Communities, Child Safety Services for advice if there is any doubt whether the complaint should be reported.
  • If the child’s parent(s) or guardian are suspected of committing the abuse, the organisation will report the allegation to the Police or the Department of Communities, Child Safety Services Immediately. Strict confidentiality, impartiality, fairness, and due process will be maintained at all times. Under no circumstances will Whitsunday Discovery Tours conduct its own investigations into any serious allegations or allegations of a criminal nature.

Risk Assessment Strategies

Whitsunday Discovery Tours is committed to identifying risks, assessing risks, eliminating, and minimising risks and monitoring of risk to the safety of children on an ongoing a basis. Risk Assessments have been developed for Activities and Field Trips.

Volunteers have less control over events and activities which are conducted away from the organisation’s home grounds. Volunteers must therefore ensure that participating in ‘away’ events or activities will not compromise the organisation’s commitment to providing a safe environment for children and young people by:

  • Ensuring that enough information has been provided to parents or carers, so they can make an informed decision about whether they want their children to attend.
  • Evaluating any risks involved with attending the event and developing procedures to minimise those risks.
  • Ensuring that event organisers are committed to an environment which is safe and friendly for children and young people and that they have developed policies and procedures supporting such an environment.

Communication and Support

Whitsunday Discovery Tours is committed to ensuring that our excursions, and activities and those provided by associated organisations provide a safe place for children to build character, develop skills, learn valuable lessons and to have fun. Volunteers, parents, and supervisors or teachers can play a key role in creating a safe environment for children in these activities. The following actions will help contribute to providing a safe environment:

  • Maintain open and frank communication.
  • Copies of this Child Protection Policy will be made available to all volunteers that regularly deal with children and young people within the organisation. This will ensure that all of the organisation’s workers understand what is expected of them with regard to providing a safe and friendly environment for children and young people.

Compliance with the Blue Card System

Whitsunday Discovery Tours has developed a Child Protection Policy. This policy implements a set of Risk Management Strategies required to meet compliance requirements of the Blue Card System. A Blue Card Register will be utilised thus ensuring that all relevant volunteers, facilitators, and contractors within the company undergo the Working with Children Check and obtain a positive notice Blue Card (where exemptions do not apply).

  • The Executive will assist relevant workers in seeking approval to work with children from the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.
  • Compliance with the Child Protection Policy included within this Risk Management Strategy will help ensure that the organisation complies with Blue Card legislation.
  • The Risk Management Strategy will be reviewed annually.
  • Whitsunday Discovery Tours will respect the confidentiality of information relating to applications by volunteers and others for Blue Cards and will maintain appropriate systems to protect the privacy of applicants.
  • The company Blue Card Register will be used to monitor who within the organisation holds a current Blue Card, as well as Blue Card numbers and expiry dates.

Managing Breaches of the Risk Management Strategy

Whitsunday Discovery Tours will review any allegations of breaches of the Child Protection Risk Management Strategy and will take steps to minimise the risk of any further breaches. Non-compliance with the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld) will result in penalties imposed under the Act. Refer to the Act for information regarding failure to comply.

Document Control Summary

Title: Child Protection Policy
Sub-title: Child and Youth Risk Management Strategies
Author: Whitsunday Discovery Tours
Policy Owner: Kathleen M Kent – Director
Review Frequency: Every 12 months
Version: 1.7b
Effective Date: 23/03/2018
Last Reviewed: July 2019
Due for Review: July 2020
Category: Professional Practice – Blue Card
File Location: KMK / Blue Card and Child risk Management Strategies / Whitsunday Discovery Tours Child Protection Policy: 7b.docx