Keeping our children safe is an important responsibility we all share.
Our children have the right to be protected wherever they are, and that includes at school and in other education environments away from home.
That’s why Victoria is phasing in new compulsory child safe standards during 2016 and 2017. The standards apply to registered schools and other organisations that work with children and young people up to 18 years old.
The standards will build on our already strong stance on preventing and responding to child abuse, providing more accountability and more consistency about how these issues are dealt with.
Victoria’s new child safe standards require schools and organisations to have particular measures in place to prevent and respond to child abuse, sending a clear message that abuse will not be tolerated.
The standards call for documented child safe policies, codes of conduct and clear strategies for responding to suspected abuse.
Schools and other organisations will have new accountabilities for minimising the risk of child abuse in their organisation.
Empowering children to understand their rights and raise concerns are also part of the new standards, because we know this is a powerful protective factor against child abuse.
Victoria’s child safe standards include special protections for some children. Children with a disability, Aboriginal children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are all given particular focus.
This will help ensure all our children, regardless of their background and needs, are protected in our learning environments.
The safety of our children is a top priority for Victoria. They deserve nothing less.
What the child safe standards mean for your child and school.
Students have the right to be safe and protected, including at school.
MWPS has a comprehensive Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Inclusion policy, safety procedures and practices in place which aim to keep students safe.
Ensuring student safety is a top priority for MWPS. Child abuse will not be tolerated.
MWPS takes the responsibilities for managing child safe standards seriously.
- promoting the empowerment and participation of students in their school
- building confidence in students to understand their rights and responsibilities
- encouraging students to raise any concern they may have as a powerful protective factor against child abuse
- reporting concerns about a student’s safety to staff, parents and guardians, and if necessary the Victoria Police, Child Protection and other agencies.
What we do to prevent abuse at MWPS.
MWPS supports all students through a preventative and intervention approach. Teachers deliver classroom social skills, wellbeing programs and activities at each level which build positive relationships, self-confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness skills. Teachers provide curriculum and programs valuing difference and focus on student safety. In all classrooms, we actively promote an environment which is safe, supportive and inclusive. Programs to support child safety and positive relationships include: ‘Connect to School Program’, Social Skills, Values and Life Habits, Circle Time, Life Education, Family Life, Buddy Program, Peer Mediation Program, Games Factory, Reach Rookys, SKIPS program. Teachers and students design their class mission and values and regularly discuss and review class, yard and school rules and expectations, student rights and responsibilities.
MWPS has a comprehensive Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Inclusion Policy which outlines Child Safe Code of Conduct and Child Safe Prevention and Intervention practices and procedures.
MWPS employs strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety.
Students, staff and families are supported by the School Leadership, Wellbeing Coordinator and Wellbeing Committee, Teachers, DE&T Psychologist, Social Worker, outside allied health professionals and specialists agencies.
Teaching staff are VIT registered which includes successfully completed Police Checks. Additional staff / personal and volunteers are supervised in classrooms or screened to work on the school site with approved Working with Children Checks.
Teachers undertake Mandatory Reporting training annually and report serious student wellbeing, health and safety concerns to School Leadership.
Being safe, and knowing what to do if something doesn’t feel ok.
You have the right to be safe and free from abuse, including at school.
Schools and other child-related organisations have to follow laws to protect children in their organisations from abuse.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse includes:
- sexual or grooming offences
- physical violence
- serious emotional or psychological harm
- serious neglect
Who can I talk to about this?
If you are worried about child abuse, for you or someone you know, there are people you can talk to.
It’s a good idea to talk to an adult you trust about any concerns you have. That person might be a parent or relative, a teacher, or someone who works at your school. You may want to talk to more than one person about your concerns.
There are services that you can contact to access more information, and in some cases, to speak to somebody about your concerns.
National Child Abuse Helpline (Child Wise) – 1800 991 099
A toll-free number with access to expert advice from trained counsellors and an opportunity to speak up about child abuse.
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
For any time and for any reason – free, private and confidential phone and online counselling 24 hrs a day 7 days a week.
Headspace (National Youth Mental Health Foundation) – 1800 650 890
Headspace can help if you are aged 12 or over and you are going through a tough time. You can talk to someone at Headspace on the phone, online or in person. They also have a lot of information on their website.
Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault – 1800 806 292
Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault provide services to child and adult victims/survivors of sexual assault. The assault may have occurred recently or in the past.
Create Foundation – 1800 655 105
Creating a better life for children and young people in care.
Youthlaw – 03 9611 2412
Free and confidential legal advice.