Child Protection and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Policy

  1. What is this policy about?
    1. This policy supports reporting by school staff of child abuse and neglect.
  2. Policy Statement
    1. All staff in public schools have a responsibility to act to protect students from child abuse and neglect in addition to mandatory statutory reporting obligations
    2. The role of schools in the care and protection of children and young people is to:
      • meet mandatory reporting obligations by reporting sexual abuse or non-accidental injury of a child or young person to Child and Youth Protection Services
      • report suspected abuse and neglect of a child or young person to Child and Youth Protection Services
      • assist in the recognition of suspected abuse and neglect
      • provide responses which aim to protect children and young people from abuse
      • assist them to effectively seek help
      • offer support to the child or young person within the normal duties of staff
      • support the development of skills for positive, non-coercive relationships.
    3. Directorate staff will cooperate with Child and Youth Protection Services and the Australian Federal Police when they are investigating child abuse and/or neglect of a child or young person.
    4. School staff must participate in annual training on reporting processes.
    5. Volunteers and Visitors who do not have mandatory reporting obligations are urged to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the school principal or a teacher. Voluntary reports may also be made under the Act direct to Care and Protection Services.
  3. Who does this policy apply to?
    1. This policy applies to Education Directorate staff and visitors.
  4. Context
    1. ACT public schools provide a safe learning environment for all students.
    2. The Children and Young People Act 2008 requires mandated reporters to notify Child and Youth Protection Services when they believe on reasonable grounds that a child or young person has experienced, or is experiencing, sexual abuse and/or non-accidental physical injury. Subject to certain exceptions, failure to meet these mandatory reporting obligations may be an offence under the Act.
    3. The Act supports voluntary reporting of suspected abuse or neglect of a child or young person. Consistent with wider legal obligations, staff are expected to make these reports.
  5. Responsibilities
    1. Principal: The school principal is responsible for implementing the policy and actions and procedures to support compliance with the Children and Young People Act 2008.
    2. Mandatory reporting obligations apply to teachers, counsellors, public servants who in the course of employment as a public servant, works with or provides services personally to children and school inspectors.
    3. Policy Owner: The Director, Student Engagement is responsible for this policy.
  6. Monitoring and Review
    1. The Policy Owner monitors the policy. This includes an annual scan of operation and review. A full review of the policy will be conducted within a three year period.
  7. Contact
    1. For support contact Senior Manager, Student Wellbeing on (02) 6205 9078 or email ETDStudentWellbeing@act.gov.au.
  8. Complaints
    1. Any concerns about the application of this procedure or the procedure itself, should be raised with:
  9. References
    1. Definitions
      • Definitions are also contained in the procedures to this policy.
      • Child Abuse: child abuse describes different types of maltreatment that endanger a child’s or young person’s safety, wellbeing and development. Child abuse can be a single incident or a chronic pattern of behaviour over time and may be intentional or unintentional. Child abuse may be experienced in families, the broader community and within schools. Child Abuse includes physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.
      • Mandated Reporters: the Children and Young People Act 2008 requires teachers, teacher assistants, persons employed to counsel children or young people in a school, and public servants who, in the course of employment as a public servant, works with or provides services personally to children, young people and their families or who has contact with children and young people and their families, to notify Child and Youth Protection Services when they believe on reasonable grounds that a child or young person has experienced, or is experiencing, sexual abuse and/or non-accidental physical injury.
        If you are unsure that you are a mandated reporter please refer to ‘Keeping Children and Young People Safe: A Shared Community Response - A guide to reporting child abuse and neglect in the ACT’, which is available at: http://www.dhcs.act.gov.au or contact Child and Youth Protection Services on 1300 556 728 or childprotection@act.gov.au for clarification.
      • Mandatory Reporting: section 356 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 outlines the legal requirement of a Mandated Reporter to report suspected cases of child abuse when they believe, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person has experienced, or is experiencing, sexual abuse and/or non-accidental physical injury.
      • Neglect: refers to a failure to provide a child or young person with the basic needs for his or her physical, emotional/psychological and intellectual development and may be chronic or episodic in nature. Child abuse and neglect may lead to long term harm to the physical or emotional well being and development of a child or young person.
    2. Legislation
    3. Implementation Documents
      • Child Protection and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Procedures
      • Child Protection and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Guidelines for ACT Public Schools
    4. Related Policies and Information

Child Protection and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Policy: CPRCAN2007 is the unique identifier of this document. It is the responsibility of the user to verify that this is the current and complete version of the document, available on the Directorate’s website at http://www.education.act.gov.au/publications_and_policies/school_and_corporate_policies/A-Z.