Children and Young People's Safety - Everyone’s Business

Yarra Ranges Council is a child safe organisation and is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people in our community. We take a zero tolerance approach to child abuse and neglect, particularly in relation to Council services and programs. Staff members, volunteers, business, and organisations working with Council all play a part in creating a community where everyone, feels confident, empowered, and supported to speak up about child safety concerns.

Council’s revised Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy has endorsed July 2022 to align with new Victorian Child Wellbeing and Safety Legislation (2021).

For your information see the updated 2022 Child Safety Policy(DOCX, 300KB) attached.

If you wish to be involved in Child Safety Initiatives at Council contact  ChildSafe@yarraranges.vic.gov.au.

 

 

 

Are you worried about a child or young person?

If you live, work or play across Yarra Ranges, support is available should you have concern for a child or young person’s health or safety. See the Guide to Authorities below for who you need to contact.

If you’d like more information about Child Safety or advice on meeting your organisational obligations, you can email ChildSafe@yarraranges.vic.gov.au or call a Designed Child Safety Officer at Yarra Ranges Council on Tel: 1300 368 333

Why is it important to report child abuse?

  • Reporting child abuse is the important first step in helping children and young people who are experiencing abuse and neglect.
  • Abuse can have a devastating impact on the lives of children and young people. Failure to report means that the child or young person could continue to experience abuse.
  • Taking action ensures that children and families get the help and support they need.
  • When concerns, disclosures or allegations are not acted upon, the perpetrator will keep abusing children and may move from organisation to organisation, from community to community or continue to abuse within their own family.
  • Keeping children safe is everyone’s business and is a legal and ethical responsibility.

 

Yarra Ranges Council Statement of Commitment

Yarra Ranges Council has a zero-tolerance approach to harm and abuse and is  actively committed to the safety, wellbeing and empowerment of all children and young people .

Council recognises that the abuse of children and young people can have lifelong catastrophic consequences and prioritises responsive and preventative action. 

It is committed to actively promoting safety and eliminating factors that lead to children and young people being harmed and abused, to ensure they can grow and thrive in safe and nurturing homes and services and child friendly communities.

 

Child Safety Legislation / Council’s Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy

The 2013 Victorian Betrayal of Trust Parliamentary Inquiry into child sexual abuse developed several recommendations that has since seen the introduction of key reforms including criminal and civil law and Child Safe Standards.

The criminal and civil laws include:

  • Failure to Protect
  • Failure to Disclose (Report)
  • Grooming offenses
  • Duty of Care Wrongs Amendment
  • Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 Amendments to the Mandatory Reporting and Working with Children Act 2005
  • Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 Amendment – (Child Safe Standards Compliance and Enforcement Act) 2021

The Victorian reforms including the Child Safe Standards ad Reportable Conduct schemes are overseen by the Commission for Children and Young People and other regulatory authorities . Strict penalties may apply to organisations or individuals who fail to comply.  

Please see Council’s Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy and also Child Safe Standards of Behaviour.

Child Safe Standards

Victorian organisations including Yarra Ranges Council, that provide services or facilities to children, are required by law to implement Child Safe Standards to protect children from abuse and harm.

A review of the Victorian Child Safe Standards in 2021 by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, resulted in revised legislation as well as Child Safe Standards and increased regulatory compliance and enforcement . These changes ensure alignment to the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, developed by the National Human Rights Commission, and endorsed in 2019 by the Council of Australian Governments.

Child Safe Standards are a set of 11 requirements that aim to create and maintain child safe environments including the prevention and respond to sexual, physical, emotional, and psychological abuse, as well as serious neglect, of children under the age of 18 years.

The Child Safe Standards aim to:

  • promote the safety of children
  • prevent child abuse
  • ensure organisations and businesses have effective processes in place to respond to and report all allegations of child abuse.

The Child Safe Standards work by:

  • driving changes in organisational culture – embedding child safety in everyday thinking and practice
  • providing a minimum standard of child safety across all organisations
  • highlighting that we all have a role to keep children safe from abuse.

 

Child Safe Standards

 

1.

Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued

2.

Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance, and culture

3.

Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously

4.

Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing

5.

Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice

6.

People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice

7.

Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused

8.

Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training

9.

Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed

10.

Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved

11.

Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people

Although all children are vulnerable, some children face additional vulnerabilities. These include children and young people from Indigenous, culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, live in out of home care, children with a disability and LBGQITA children and young people. 

Find out more about the Child Safe Standards in languages other than English.

 

 

 

Reportable Conduct Scheme

The Reportable Conduct Scheme (established by the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005) aims to improve organisations’ responses to allegations of certain types of misconduct involving children, committed by their workers and volunteers. It imposes legal obligations on heads of organisations to have systems in place to prevent child abuse, and if child abuse is alleged, to ensure allegations are brought to the attention of appropriate persons for investigation and response.

Reportable conduct against a child includes:

  • Sexual offences
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Physical violence
  • Significant emotional or psychological harm
  • Significant neglect

 

The Reportable Conduct Scheme has been designed to ensure that the Commission for Children and Young People will be aware of every allegation of certain types of employee/volunteer misconduct involving children. The Commission must be informed of all allegations of child abuse involving a worker or volunteer, and independently monitors all investigations undertaken by organisations.

Any complaints about a Yarra Ranges Council staff member, volunteer or contractor’s behaviour or conduct towards a child or young person will be treated seriously and in accordance with the Reportable Conduct Scheme.

To notify Council of any concerns, please email Childsafe@yarraranges.vic.gov.au or call 1300 368 333 and ask to speak to a Designated Child Safe Officer. If you speak a language other than English, you can call 131 450.  You can also contact the Commission for Children and Young People at contact@ccyp.vic.gov.au or call 03 8601 5884 (Monday to Friday).

Reporting an Incident

What Is Child Abuse?

  • Physical Abuse – non-accidental infliction of physical violence, which injures or harms a child/ young person
  • Sexual Abuse - when an adult uses force or power to involve a child/young person in sexual activity.
  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse –rejecting, isolating, excluding, threatening, verbal abuse, coldness.
  • Significant Neglect - failing to meet a child/young person’s basic needs; food, drink, clothing, hygiene, medical attention, supervision.
  • Family Violence – any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour in a domestic setting.
  • Grooming – when an adult communicates and/or attempts to establish a relationship to prepare a child for sexual activity, at a later time.

More information about the indicators of abuse and the impacts it has on children

You Must Report

  • When a child/ young person is in immediate physical danger or the concern relates to sexual abuse – CALL the Police on Tel: OOO. 

  • If there’s a disclosure, allegation or observation made and you have reasonable belief that a child is in need of protection, report to Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Child  Protection 1300 360 391 or 131 278 (after hrs.)

  • If there is a concern about the safety, health, or wellbeing about a child or young person, call Orange Door Outer Eastern Melbourne Tel: 1800 271 150
  • It is important that you record what you observe in relation to your concern including the date, location and description of child/ people involved.

Guide to Authorities / Support Services

Incident Reporting and Regulatory Authorities

Victorian Police

000

Department of Families, Fairness & Housing - Child Protection

1300 360 391 8.45am - 5.00pm

131 278

After hrs. incl. weekend/ public hols.

Orange Door Outer EasternMelbourne.

1800 271 150

Lilydale Police Station

9739 2300

Commission for Children and Young People

1300 78 29 78

https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/

Information and Counselling Support Services

Kids Helpline

1800 551 800

Lifeline

13 11 14

1800RESPECT

1800 737 732

Beyondblue

1300 224 636

Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (ECASA)

9870 7330/ 1800 806 292 (24 hrs)

SAMSN – Male Survivors,

1800 4 SAMSN (72 676)

https://www.samsn.org.au/

Cybersmart Online Help

1800 880 176

www.cybersmart.gov.au

 

Resources for Parents and Carers

Resources for Children and Young People

Who can I contact for help?

Kids Helpline is a free 24/7, confidential and private counselling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years. You can speak to them over the phone, via email, or even on-line live chat.

You can contact Kids Helpline about a wide range of issues; from everyday topics such as family, friends and school to more serious issues of child abuse, bullying, mental health issues, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and suicide.

Kids Helpline

Additional resources

Information for Organisations

What can organisation do to ensure we meet the legal obligation of our organisation to comply with Victoria’s compulsory Child Safe Standards?

How can our organisation create a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children?

What can we do to help keep children with a disability safe in our organisation?

What can we do to promote the cultural safety of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds?

How can we encourage the empowerment and participation of children in our organisation?

What supports are available for our organisation? 

Risk assessment and management templates: