top of page

Introduction 

This policy is designed to protect all children and young people who attend the Achievers Club Program.  Achievers Club WA Inc will be referred to as the Club in this document.  

Children and young people are defined as anyone under the age of 18 years and includes students receiving  assistance with their study, mentors, and visitors to the Club.

 

Act means the Children and Community Services Act 2004, which came into operation on 1 March 2006, is the  main legislation that governs three services areas administered by the Department of Communities Child Protection  and Family support. One of these areas is, ‘Protecting children and young people from abuse’.    

Legal Implications 

The Board understands that under the law the Club could be held liable for negligence if abuse occurred and it had  not taken the appropriate steps to prevent it. Areas in which this may be applicable are:  

  • the selection and retention of voluntary mentors or other volunteers and  

  • procedures for the supervision of children and young people. For example, an organisation puts itself at risk  if it accepts a person who is recommended by a colleague without thoroughly checking the individual (e.g.  Working with Children Check, Police Check, reference checks and validating qualifications). If it turned out  that the volunteer had a record of violence or child abuse, which could have been identified by undertaking a  Working with Children Check and Police Check and then proceeded to abuse children in the organisation, then  the Club could be considered legally negligent in their selection process. This may involve the Club being  sued.  

  • The Club understands that it is legally obligated to obtain a valid Working with Children Check for all  volunteers and must ensure all volunteers can show proof of their current Police Clearance documentation.  

Standard Operating Practice 

Mentors and students work in a safe and structured environment. At no time is a mentor and student working alone  in a ‘private’ space. We ensure, in the interests of both the mentors and students we work in close proximity to  others which helps build a sense of ‘Club’ and ‘team’ and ensures a safe environment. The Club works to develop  a collegiate, cohesive and friendly atmosphere which assists positive learning outcomes.  

If a mentor needs to contact a student outside of their usual mentoring hours (or vice versa) then all communication  will go through their Chapter Coordinator.  

 

Child Protection Statement 

The Club is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people accessing our service. We  support the rights of the child and will act without hesitation to ensure a child-safe environment is maintained at all  times. We also support the rights and wellbeing of our volunteers and encourage their active participation in building  and maintaining a secure environment for all participants.

 

Policy coverage 

This policy applies to all individuals involved with the Club including:  

  • volunteers  

  • children and young people participating in the program  

  • visitors, including parents and family members, program partners, etc  

The Club expects that all those involved with the program will adhere to our Code of Conduct and follow the policies  and procedures outlined in this document. If breaches of these policies and procedures occur you will face  disciplinary action, including and up to termination of employment or cessation of engagement with the  organisation.

 

What is child abuse? (Refer to Appendix 1 for indicators of child abuse)

 

Child abuse can take the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. Child abuse can have  long term and significant effects on a child or young person’s development. The Club is committed to responding  without delay to any suspicions of child abuse or neglect.  

Types of Abuse 

  • Physical Abuse - This abuse occurs when a person intentionally injures or threatens to injure a child or young person. The injury  may involve: slapping, kicking, punching, shaking, burning, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, strangling or any  other form of behaviour causing physical injury. Physical abuse can also involve a situation where a parent or  caregiver is not adequately ensuring a child or young person’s safety, leading to them being placed in situations of  extreme physical danger.  

  • Sexual Abuse - Sexual abuse is when a person uses their power over a child or young person to involve them in sexual activity.  Sexual abuse covers a wide range of sexual activities including both contact and non-contact situations.  

  • Emotional Abuse -  Emotional abuse involves a consistent attack on the child or young person’s self-esteem to the extent that it is  affecting the child or young person’s physical, emotional, social and/or intellectual development. It can take  the form of rejection, put-downs, intimidation, threats, frightening or isolating the child or young person.  

  • Neglect -  This is a situation where a child or young person’s basic daily needs are not being met and this is risking their  health and development. It can involve a lack of food, clothing, personal hygiene, shelter, medical treatment  or appropriate supervision.

  

Designated Contact Officers 

It is the policy of the Club to endorse, annually, two or more Designated Contact Officer/s (DCOs) at each mentoring  location with at least one of each gender, in order to provide choice and gender balance. It is recognised that a  person wishing to make a complaint may feel more comfortable discussing issues with a member of the same  gender.  

A DCO or a Chapter Coordinator will be the first contact point for anyone involved with the Club who has reasonable  grounds to suspect an incident or has a concern about a child or young person. This could also be a child or young  person expressing concern for themselves. A suspicion should be reported to a Designated Contact Officer or a  Chapter Coordinator as soon as practicable and within 24 hours.  

Once a report has been received the Achievers Club WA Inc. Incident Response Plan will be followed. (https://www.achieversclubwa.org.au/policies-incident-response-plan)  

Designated Contact Officers will also proactively promote a culture at the Club of a welcoming, secure and  supportive environment so children and young people will feel comfortable in expressing any difficulties or concerns  they may have.

 

All volunteers and children and young people will receive communication so that they are aware of who the  Designated Contact Officers are.  

Responsibility of Volunteer who has raised concerns 

It is the responsibility of any volunteer who has raised a concern about a child or young person’s welfare to ensure  their concerns have been acted upon.  

  

Responding to a Suspicion or Concern 

The Club has the following guiding principles in relation to responding to concerns about a child or young person’s  safety and welfare. The Club recognises that any allegation of abuse involves:  

  • The right of the child /young person to be listened to, protected and supported  

  • The right of the child/young person and their families to have their concerns acted on   The right of the alleged perpetrator to a fair process  

  • Everyone’s right to privacy  

  • The responsibility of the Club to ensure all concerns are dealt with promptly and in a respectful manner.

Upon being notified of a suspicion or concern the board will act upon this in line with the Club’s Incident Response Plan.  

 

Volunteer Selection Process 

Appointed panel  

The Board will appoint a panel of volunteers to act as a sub-committee for the recruitment of volunteers. There  should be a minimum of two volunteers from the sub-committee for each selection process. Their duties will be:  

  • Interview the prospective mentors  

  • Check with referees  

  • Recommend to executive via email, telephone or meeting and  

  • Ensure the relevant legal checks have been undertaken  

Interview and Background Check Procedures

Telephone or face-to-face interviews must be conducted with prospective volunteers to understand volunteer  motivations and to inform prospective volunteers about the volunteer role, program operations, screening  mechanisms and compulsory training.  

Working with Children Checks and Police Checks

Working with Children Checks and Police Checks must be conducted on all volunteers – proof should be sighted  before volunteers commence and volunteers must only work under direct supervision until proof is shown.  

Reference checks

Two reference checks should be conducted by phone for preferred applicants (volunteer) and should include  verification of applicant’s identity and employment history.  

Amendments from 13 April 2019: While the preferred option is to get a phone reference, if a phone referee is unavailable after two attempts, request a written reference in the terms of the agreed form. All referees for prospective mentors must be people that have known the applicant for a minimum of 1 year and cannot be family  members.  

Procedures for Induction, Training and Supervision of Staff

All applicants must be provided with access to a copy of the Club’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct  and agree to adhere to both. Adherence to the Club’s Policy and Code of Conduct is required by all volunteers. It  is essential for volunteers to recognise and respond to any abuse or severe neglect by the steps set out in the  Policy.

 

All applicants must attend an induction presentation before starting to mentor.

 

Risk Management

All programs and activities at the Club are required to undergo regular child protection risk analysis. This will be  carried out by DCO and Program Coordinator/s of the Club. Risks should be evaluated and strategies developed  to minimise the likelihood of harm occurring. 

Internet Safety

The Club recognises that the internet, mobile phones and other forms of information technology  

can be used as an avenue for child abuse. At the same time information technology can have a wonderfully positive,  informative and creative part to play in a child or young person’s education.  

The Club works to teach children and young people of safe and respectful ways to work with  information technology. During their time at the Club all children and young peoples’ use of  information technology is monitored and conducted in an open space.  

Any indication of inappropriate activity either against a child or young person or initiated by them, in any  

form of media must be reported to one of the Designated Contact Officers immediately. It is the responsibility of all  volunteers of the Club, students and parents to report concerns in this area.  

  

Drug and Alcohol

The Club recognises that the use of alcohol and drugs by volunteers can impact on:  

  • the safety and well-being of the children and young people accessing the program 

  • the integrity and professionalism of the program  

  • the degree to which volunteers behave as appropriate role models.  

Volunteers should not attend the program under the influence of alcohol or any recreational drugs. Individuals  taking prescription drugs that may affect their ability to carry out their duties in a responsible and professional  manner should discuss this with the Club Chairman or Secretary.  

The Club acknowledges that the use, supply and possession of recreational drugs, and the use of alcohol for  people under the age of 18 is against the law. The Club also recognises that the use of recreational drugs and  and/or alcohol can have negative impacts on a young person’s physical health, and their social and emotional  wellbeing. The program does not allow the possession, supply or use of drugs or alcohol to anyone on the premises  or during the running of the Club. This includes the possession of drug paraphernalia.  

  

Acknowledgements 

Information contained in this resource sourced from following locations:

  • Child Safe Organisations https://childsafe.humanrights.gov.au/

  • Child Protection and Care, Department of Human Services, ‘Responding to Child Abuse’, 2002. 

  • Ardoch Youth Foundation, ‘Youth Safeguard Policy’, 2007  

  • Childwise: ‘Choose with Care: A handbook to build safer organisations for children’, 2004   Learning Beyond The Bell (Sample Child Protection Policy) Published 2011-Centre For Multicultural Youth    

  

 

APPENDIX 1

Some indicators of Abuse: 

When looking at indicators of abuse, adults need to be aware that if any of the below do exist it does  not automatically mean abuse is happening. This is where professional judgment is vital. It is expected that  if anyone has doubts or concerns no matter how small about a child or young person, that these will be discussed  as soon as possible with the Designated Contact Officer  

  

Some indicators of Physical Abuse:  

  • Bruises, burns, sprains, dislocations, bites, cuts, welts.  

  • Symptoms indicating poisoning.  

  • Fractured bones  

  • Internal injuries  

  • Shaking injuries  

  • Evidence of strangulation  

  • Refuses to talk about injuries or implausible reasons given for injuries  

  • Wary or distrustful of adults  

  • Expresses little or no emotion when hurt  

  • Is scared of returning home or of their parents being contacted.  

  • Withdraws from physical contact  

  • Is aggressive towards others or alternately can be very passive or compliant  

  • Wears winter clothing that covers their arms and legs in warmer weather.  

  • Self-destructive behaviour  

  • Regular “running away” incidences  

  • Is fearful when other children cry or shout  

 

Some indicators of Sexual Abuse:  

  • Itchiness, soreness, discharge or unexplained bleeding  

  • Injury to genital or rectal area  

  • Discomfort in urinating or defecating  

  • Frequent urinary tract infections  

  • Sexually transmitted diseases  

  • Pregnancy in adolescence where the identity of the father is vague or secret  

  • Bruising and other injuries to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen and thighs  

  • Torn, stained or bloodied underwear  

  • Difficulty walking or sitting 

  • Anxiety related illnesses like anorexia or bulimia  

  • Shows persistent and age-inappropriate sexual activity  

  • Very attentive to adults of a particular sex or fearful of a particular sex  

  • Display an unusual interest in the genitals of others  

  • Acting out sexual behaviour with adults, dolls or other children.  

  • Open displays of sexuality eg. repeated public masturbation    

  • Precocious knowledge of sexual matters.  

  • Complains of stomach or headaches  

  • Regressive behaviour e.g., bedwetting, separation anxiety  

  • Acting out behaviour such as aggression, lying, stealing, running away, drug or alcohol abuse,  suicide attempts.  

  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares  

  • Excessive bathing  

Some indicators of Emotional Abuse:  

  • Delayed development in one or more areas  

  • Speech disorders  

  • High anxiety  

  • Low self-esteem  

  • Very aggressive or passive  

  • Difficulties in relating to adults or peers  

  • Inappropriate behaviour for their age eg. overly adult such as parenting other children to overly infantile eg.  thumb-sucking.  

  • Fear in new situations  

  • Excessive running away or drug/alcohol abuse.  

  • Compulsive stealing  

 

Some indicators of Neglect:  

  • Regularly tired and/ or hungry as a result may steal food or fall asleep in class  

  • Poor hygiene  

  • Low self-esteem  

  • Left unsupervised for long lengths of time or abandoned by parents/caregivers.  

  • Regularly wears clothing that is not suitable for the weather  

  • Medical needs that have not been attended to. 

  • Frequently away from school or arriving very late  

  • Drug or alcohol abuse  

  • Poor social relations or indiscriminate with affection 

  • Hangs around at school or other programs outside their regular hours

Child Protection Policy

bottom of page