Policy Statement

Giant Steps Tasmania, shares the Department of Health and Human Services’ understanding that to grow up to be healthy, happy adults, children need: Continuity, Connection, Care and Protection.

The organisation also shares the following understandings:

  • What happens to children when they are young can affect their whole lives.
  • Children can be negatively impacted by events – both physically, and emotionally.
  • Families have the primary responsibility for caring for and protecting their children.
  • Caring for children can be hard – everyone needs help sometimes.

Giant Steps Tasmania recognizes its responsibilities under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997 Act (amended 2009), the Family Violence Act 2004 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to promote the care and protection of children and young people attending Giant Steps Tasmania and to build positive relationships with families. 

In particular, the staff of Giant Steps Tasmania recognize the importance of Section 7 of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997 which relates to the provision of care and protection of children in a manner that maximizes a child's opportunity to grow up in a safe and stable environment and to reach his or her full potential.

The underlying principles of this policy include:

  • the importance of ensuring that only appropriate staff are employed to work with children and young people*;
  • the importance of working with families, carers and external agencies (such as Gateway Services and Child Protection Services) to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students at Giant Steps Tasmania;
  • a commitment to building resilience, and encouraging genuine partnerships;
  • placing the child or young person's safety and best interests at the centre of its practices.
  • ensuring that relevant staff understand their responsibilities to report possible abuse or neglect

Giant Steps Tasmania also fully supports the findings and recommendations of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, released December 2017.

[* while students over the age of 16 are not included in the terms of the Act, staff of Giant Steps Tasmania recognize that they have a duty of care in terms of the well-being and protection of students who have reached the age of majority who, as a result of their diagnosis of autism, may be vulnerable and/ or at risk of abuse. Staff are alert to the signs of possible abuse and are willing to advocate for their students.]

Purpose

To ensure that all staff are aware of their role in ensuring a safe environment for the students of Giant Steps Tasmania

To make clear the circumstances in which and the manner in which mandatory reporting is undertaken.

To explain how Giant Steps Tasmania intends to further improve its commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of its students.

Implementation

The Management of Giant Steps Tasmania aims to ensure, through its recruitment, screening and interview processes, that all staff are appropriately skilled and share the values and beliefs of the organisation in terms of the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of students. During interviews, applicants are asked questions with a specific child safety focus and are not offered a contract unless and until their references have been received.

The Management of Giant Steps Tasmania provides regular education and training to staff to ensure they are aware of any changes to the law and how to recognize the signs of possible abuse or neglect. 

Staff at Giant Steps Tasmania recognise that students may be at risk of experiencing:

Physical abuse

Sexual abuse

Emotional/psychological abuse

Neglect

Exposure to family violence

 

Staff of Giant Steps Tasmania understand that neglect can take the following forms:

Physical neglect is the failure to provide the necessities to sustain the life or health of the child: the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

Medical neglect occurs when the parent/ carer fails to provide adequate health care. It includes refusing or delaying seeking medical treatment, failing to give regular medication for chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma, and failing to take normal preventative measures.

Supervisory neglect occurs when parents/carers fail to supervise their child, or to arrange for proper supervision in their absence. Supervisory neglect can occur where children are left in the care of another child who is not old or mature enough to exercise proper care.

Emotional neglect is failing to provide adequately for a child’s emotional and psychological developmental needs. This includes not spending enough time with the child, or not providing the experiences a child needs for their mind and emotions to develop in a healthy and balanced way.

Educational neglect occurs when the child is not provided with learning opportunities e.g. they are not sent to school.

The staff of Giant Steps Tasmania understand that the following people at Giant Steps Tasmania are mandatory reporters:

  • the principal
  • teachers

Staff understand that, under Section 14(2) of the Act, mandated staff MUST report to the Child Protection Advice and Referral Service and/or to police if, in carrying out official duties or in the course of their work, they believe, or suspect on reasonable grounds, or know that a child or young person has experienced or is likely to experience:

Physical abuse

Sexual abuse

Emotional/psychological abuse

Neglect

Exposure to family violence

 

Mandated staff understand that they do not need to have proof to report any concerns about the safety of a child under 16. Indicators that represent reasonable grounds to report a suspected offence include:

  • A child or young person disclosing that he or she has suffered or is suffering non-accidental physical injury, sexual abuse, emotional/ psychological abuse, neglect or exposure to family violence. 
  • Someone else advising that a child or young person has suffered or is suffering non-accidental physical injury, sexual abuse, emotional/ psychological abuse, neglect or exposure to family violence. 
  • A member of staff’s own observations of the child or young person's physical condition or behaviours lead them to reasonably suspect that the child or young person has suffered or is suffering non-accidental physical injury, sexual abuse, emotional/ psychological abuse, neglect or exposure to family violence.

Mandated staff are aware that they should make their report on the online form available at: https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/contact/child_protection_notification_form

Ph: 1800 000 123

All Giant Steps Tasmania staff are alert for possible signs of neglect and/ or abuse and fill out Cause for Concern Forms if they feel that students may be experiencing such situations. All Causes for Concern are followed up by the Principal who may then exercise his duties as a Mandated Reporter. 

All Staff at Giant Steps Tasmania are also aware that under the terms of the Criminal Code and Related Legislation Amendment (Child Abuse) Act 2018, it is a criminal offence to fail to report child abuse and that this offence relates to all persons, not only to mandated reporters.

Any staff member at Giant Steps Tasmania who is concerned about the possible neglect or abuse of a student should therefore, in the first instance, complete a Cause for Concern Form and hand it to a teacher or the principal, keeping a copy for themselves.

As a natural extension of the practices already in place at Giant Steps Tasmania, it is the intention of the Management that before this Policy is due for review, in line with the organisation’s commitment to following the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it will become a recognised Child Safe Organisation. (https://childsafe.humanrights.gov.au) The National Principles related to this can be found at the end of this Policy.

 

Addenda to Policy

Cause for Concern Form (amended)

 National Principles for Child Safety

 

Authorised by:

Paul Bowman

Position:

Chair of Board

Signature:

 

Date:

 

Original Policy developed by:

Chris Jacobsen

Position:

Education Administrator

Date developed:

June - August, 2016

Date of last review:

March 2018

Date of this review:

April 2020

Reviewed by:

Chris Jacobsen

Position:

Fairlight Educational Consulting

Staff consultation period:

March 26th  – April 17th  2020

Date for next review:

April, 2022

 

 

 

 

National Principles for Child Safety

https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/childrens-rights/national-principles-child-safe-organisations

 

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

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

3. Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

4. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

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

6. Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.

7. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through on-going education and training.

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

9. Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved.

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