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  • Child Safety                                              

    Catholic school communities place the highest priority on the care, wellbeing and protection of children and young people. Founded in Christ and sustained by faith, Catholic schools seek to fulfil their mission of enabling each student to come into the fullness of their own humanity. This includes paying attention to the inherent dignity of children and young people, and their fundamental right to be respected, nurtured and safeguarded by all.

    The Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Sale (CEOSale) is committed to safeguarding children and young people against sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse and/or neglect, and is working in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Dioceses of Ballarat and Sandhurst through the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) and with Diocesan schools to achieve this.

    CECV Commitment Statement to Child Safety   

    School Guidance

    This Guide has been developed by the Department of Education and Training, the Catholic
    Education Commission of Victoria and Independent Schools Victoria to support all school staff
    (principals, teachers, education support staff, allied health professionals, contractors, administrative
    staff and all other school staff) in all Victorian schools to take action if they suspect, or are witness to,
    any form of child abuse.
     

    Four Critical Actions for Schools - Responding to Incidents, Disclosures and Suspicions of Child Abuse  

    Identifying and Responding to All Forms of Abuse in Victorian Schools                       

          
     
    Understanding Your Obligations    Identifying Signs of Abuse

     

     

     Four Critical Actions

    Responding to other Concerns
    About the Wellbeing of a Child

     

     

    Privacy and Information Sharing  

     

      

     CEOSale Child Safety Policies

    The Victorian Child Safe Standards 

    On 26 November 2015, the Victorian Parliament passed the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Bill 2015 (Vic.) to introduce Victorian Child Safe Standards (the standards) into law. The standards will be phased in from 1 January 2016 for most organisations working with children and will come into force for schools from 1 August 2016. 

    Ministerial Order No 870 has been made and was gazetted on Thursday 7 January 2016. The Ministerial Order, developed in consultation with stakeholders from government and non-government school sectors, specifies the actions schools must take to meet each of the child safe standards.

    As a minimum requirement for school registration, schools must take action in accordance with Ministerial Order No 870 to manage and reduce the risk of child abuse. The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) will have responsibility for ensuring compliance against the standards in schools.

    Regulatory compliance will take effect from 1 August 2016, to give schools time to familiarise themselves with the child safe standards and to prepare to meet the requirements of the Ministerial Order. Catholic Education Melbourne and the VRQA will provide information and support materials to assist Catholic schools to implement the standards.

    What are the Victorian Child Safe Standards? 
    The standards were publicly released on 29 September 2015 after consultation with stakeholders. They are aimed at creating child safe environments and promoting cultural change in the way organisations manage the risk of child abuse and neglect.

    Child safe organisations must have:

    • strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements
    • a child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety
    • a code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
    • screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
    • processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
    • strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse
    • strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.

     In complying with the child safe standards, organisations must include the following

     principles as part of each standard: 

    • promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children
    • promoting the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
    • promoting the safety of children with a disability.

    Student Physical and Sexual Abuse, and Neglect  Children’s rights to be safe are fundamental to our work in the Diocese of Sale. It is crucial that each child is protected against physical and sexual abuse, and neglect. 

    When teachers form a belief that a child may be at risk of harm due to sexual abuse or physical injury that results from abuse or neglect, they have a legal responsibility to notify the Department of Health and Human Services. 

    Parent Complaints 

    The Catholic Education Office Diocese of Sale (CEOSale) is committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect and encourages good communication between parents and schools.

    The protocol of CEOSale is to refer grievances and complaints about schools to be managed at the
    school level where possible.

    All concerns and complaints lodged with CEOSale about a Catholic school in the Diocese of Sale are
    addressed in line with relevant professional and administrative standards and in accordance with
    obligations and rights afforded under Victorian legislative and regulatory frameworks. These include the
    Education and Training Reform Act 2006, the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
    and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

    How do I raise an issue or make a complaint? 

    The school should always be your first point of contact. Schools need to know if you have any concerns about your child’s education. Teaching and learning works best when parents and teachers talk to each other and work together to solve any problems. You are always welcome to ask about and request a copy of your school’s policies and procedures.

    When contacting the School 

     Any appointments to speak with school staff about a complaint should be arranged through the school office.

    • Plan what you will say so you can clearly explain what the problem is. You might want to make some notes to help you.
    • Have some ideas about how the problem could be resolved realistically.
    • Talk about the problem with your child’s teacher/s by telephone or organise a face-to-face meeting. Most problems can be solved this way.
    • If you still have a concern after talking to your child’s teacher/s you may want to speak to the Assistant Principal or Principal.

    When to contact the Catholic Education Office 

    If the matter is not resolved by speaking to the Principal or Assistant Principal at your school, you can
    contact the Education Consultant at CEOSale who will assist you and the school to find a solution.

     For further details please refer to the following documents:

     Resolving Parent/Guardian Issues and Concerns: Management of Complaints and Grievances 

    Practical Advice for Concerns and Complaints 

    Referral Pathways 

     Due to the diversity of the Diocese, formalised overarching partnerships with services are unable to occur. 

    Schools together with support from CEOSale staff determine appropriate referral pathways based on the individual needs of students. Some of the organisations include: 

    • Centre Against Sexual Assault 
    • CatholicCare 
    • Victoria Police 
    • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services 
    • General Practitioners 
    • Anglicare 
    • Headspace 
    • Department of Human Services 

    The Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix is a tool which supports parents and carers, school staff and other professionals to appropriately refer children and young people to mental health services. 

    Click here for access to Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix.  

    Students in Out of Home Care 

    Children and young people in Out of Home Care live in a range of alternative care arrangements away from their parents, including living with relatives or friends (kinship care), living with non-relative families (home-based care, sometimes known as foster care) and living in residential care units with rostered care staff (residential care). They are a diverse group who share the common experience of being exposed to significant abuse and trauma which has resulted in them being removed from the care of their parents. It is a fundamental right that all children and young people are protected, cared for and educated in a way that maximises their life opportunities.

    The Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment: A Partnering Agreement between the Department of Human Services, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Independent Schools Victoria (the Partnering Agreement) acknowledges that providing the best start in life for children and young people in out-of-home care is a shared responsibility. It provides a common understanding of the expectations and requirements of all parties to ensure that strategies are implemented for all children and young people in out-of home care to provide the foundations for educational success.

    The Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment 

    Anaphylaxis 

    Anaphylaxis is a severe, rapidly progressive allergic reaction that is potentially life threatening. The most common allergens in school-aged children are peanuts, eggs, tree nuts (e.g. cashews), cow's milk, fish and shellfish, wheat, soy, sesame seeds, latex, certain insect stings and medications. 

    The keys to prevention of anaphylaxis are planning, risk minimisation, awareness and education

    All schools within the Diocese of Sale have an anaphylaxis management policy.

    The following guidelines prepared by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2014) have been developed to assist all Victorian Schools in planning for, and supporting students with severe allergies. 

    Anaphylaxis Guidelines 

    Emergencies and Natural Disasters 

    CEOSale schools are well prepared to deal with emergency situations.

    Each school has an emergency management plan that identifies procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. If an emergency should occur, the school emergency management team is quickly established to support and meet the needs of students and families. 

    If there is an emergency situation during the school day, the safety and wellbeing of students will be the highest priority. No student details will be released to anyone other than those authorised on their enrolment form.

    To assist schools to prepare for and manage emergencies, we ask you to:

    • ensure your child’s emergency contact details held by the school are up to date
    • ensure school staff are alerted to any special medical or dietary requirements of your child
    • notify the school principal of any emergency situation involving your child. 

    Smoke Free Learning Environments

    From 13 April 2015, under the Tobacco Act 1987 smoking is prohibited within the grounds of, and within four metres of an entrance to, all Victorian childcare centres, kindergartens, preschools and schools. This ban ensures that children and young people can enter and leave these areas without being exposed to harmful second-hand smoke. 

    Second-hand tobacco smoke is particularly dangerous to children and young people because they have smaller airways and less developed immune systems compared to adults. 

    Please see the attached brochure outlining the requirements

    Smoke-free Learning Environments 

    Online Safety 

    Access to the online world offer’s students the chance to explore a virtually limitless world. It provides provide new opportunities for learning and connecting across the globe, but like the real world, there are dangers that exist. To address this, schools in the Diocese of Sale implement a range of safety strategies that are tailored to meet the needs of their school community.

    Online Grooming 

    Inappropriate Content 

    Cyberbullying 

    Parents Guide to Online Safety