The protection of children, one of the most vulnerable groups in society, is a shared community responsibility and involves ensuring that all children are safe, their needs are met and the possibility of child abuse is minimised. Adult supervision is a key factor in creating and maintaining child safe environments.
All staff at HDST have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to ensure that all children are safe in their care. HDST is committed to:
- ensuring that the health, safety and wellbeing of children at the practice is protected at all times
- protecting children from any foreseeable risk of injury or harm
- supporting the rights of all children to feel safe, and be safe, at all times
Our Child safe commitment
- Maintain professional and respectful communication with children and their families
- Provide fair professional services
- Actively listen to children and young people when they raise an issue and involve them in the decision making process
- Respect children and young people’s rights, background, culture and beliefs
- Comply with all relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation according to children and young people protection
- Comply with mandatory reporting concerning children or young people suspected at risk of significant harm
- Effective reporting to management personnel of any concern about staff’s approach or conduct towards children or young people
- Safeguard children or young people at all times
- Use appropriate language for the easy understanding of children or young people.
- Avoid any actions or words intended to threaten, intimidate, shame, humiliate, belittle, embarrass or degrade children or young people
- HDST staff will ensure the physical environment is safe, secure and free from hazards for children
- HDST management will ensure the practice maintains a clean environment daily, and tripping/slipping hazards are removed as soon as these become apparent
- The speech pathologist will ensure that children are adequately supervised during sessions
- The speech pathologist will ensure all equipment and materials used meet relevant safety standards
- Any dangerous substances such as cleaning products and chemicals will be stored safely
- Management will ensure that all staff within the practice read, understand and implement this policy
- HDST management team will keep up to date and comply with any changes in legislation and practices in relation to this policy and ensure that this information is passed onto staff at HDST
Strategies to support a child safe environment
- Best practice is to include the child’s guardian/primary support person at all times both in the waiting room and therapy room
- Where the parent/guardian or primary support person is not present in the therapy room, visibility is maintained through internal windows
Recruitment of Staff
- All HDST staff (paid and volunteers) have current Working With Children Checks as per our staff induction policy
- All staff (paid and volunteers) will be oriented to HDST policies and procedures and code of conduct.
HDST will ensure:
- that staff are knowledgeable about current legislation and reporting requirements related to child protection and maltreatment
- a system for reporting and recording incidents is in place
- Staff understand their responsibility as mandated reporters
- Staff access current information about the procedures to be taken in relation in allegations of child abuse or neglect
- Maintain training updates
- a fact sheet to recognising signs of abuse or neglect will be made available to all staff to remind them of the possible signs of child abuse, and the procedures they should follow if a child in their care displays behaviour or physical signs that could indicate abuse
has taken place (see mandatory reporting fact sheet)
General principles to be applied in the event that concerns arise
- Any person who believes on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection may report their concerns to the Child Abuse Report Line.
- If a staff member is concerned that protective concerns exist with as child they must discuss these concerns as soon as possible with a delegate from the management team
- Following discussion a decision will be reached about whether a report will be made and the report will be made by the staff person directly.