Child Safety Policy

Our Aim

To provide a safe, enjoyable and educational environment for all children participating in NETFIT Netball’s organised activities. We aim to make every child feel accepted and involved in our community, irrespective of their age, physical ability or appearance, gender, cultural background or socio-economical background. NETFIT Netball are passionate about developing a strong sense of worth in every child who attends, or virtually participates in, one of our physical or online clinics with that instilled confidence translating into mental and physical stimulation, growth and happiness.

Our Commitment

NETFIT Netball and it’s stakeholders, whether they be the principal, staff, contractors, consultants, volunteers, parents of children, participating children or online community members are committed to upholding the aims, value and beliefs shared by NETFIT Netball surrounding the safety and well-being of children within our community. NETFIT Netball and it’s stakeholders have zero tolerance of physical or mental child abuse, and any allegations and safety concerns shall result in an immediate and detailed review by NETFIT Netball and it’s staff, with any confirmed breaches resulting in immediate disciplinary action, dismissal or reporting of said breaches to the relevant authorities. The NETFIT Netball team are encouraged to identify any potential abuse risks early, and aim to reduce those risks, or remove the child from the area of risk, in a safe manner for all parties concerned. Where the risk is grave and immediate the NETFIT Netball team are encouraged to contact the relevant authorities or dial 000 for immediate assistance. We are committed to the safety of, and provision for, the cultural safety and respect of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander’s and their children, along with the cultural safety of any children and their families from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for any children with a disability and their families.

Our Staff, Contractors & Volunteers

NETFIT Netball, and it’s stakeholders, including all staff, contractors and volunteers have agreed to abide by our code of conduct which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children. NETFIT Netball, it’s staff and volunteers, as well as children and their families, are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the code of conduct.

Training & Supervision

NETFIT Netball place a high emphasis on the training and education of it’s staff, contractors and volunteers to ensure that everyone at NETFIT Netball understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility. NETFIT Netball’s culture aims for all of it’s stakeholders, including children and their families to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns. We train our staff, contractors and volunteers to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse. NETFIT Netball supports it’s staff, contractors and volunteers through ongoing supervision and wellness check-ins to help develop this skills to protect children from abuse, staying calm under pressure and being sensitive to and promoting the cultural diversity of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander’s and their children, along with the cultural safety of any children and their families from diverse background, and the safety of children with a disability. Any incoming staff, contractors or volunteers will be supervised regularly to ensure they understand NETFIT Netball’s commitment to child safety and that everyone involved at NETFIT Netball has a role to play, and responsibility, in protecting children from abuse. This includes checking that their behaviour towards children is safe, appropriate and culturally sensitive. NETFIT Netball encourages it’s staff, contractors or volunteers to report any inappropriate behaviour from fellow staff, contractor’s or volunteers to the NETFIT Netball principal and/or HR Department. Depending on the severity and/or urgency of any alleged or actual inappropriate behaviour, the NETFIT Netball principal and HR Department advise staff, contractors or volunteers to immediately contact the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police, should the situation require that action.

Recruitment

NETFIT Netball takes all reasonable steps to employ skilled people to work with children. We advertise positions, clearly demonstrating the need to be skilled in working with children and that experience and integrity in this field is essential, with qualifying references to support any applications. NETFIT Netball understands that when recruiting staff, contractors and volunteers that we have an ethical obligation to our stakeholders, including children and their families, as well as legislative obligations, and very much bear that in mind before confirming any appointment. NETFIT Netball actively encourages applications from Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander’s, anyone hailing from a culturally diverse background and from all people irrespective of their gender, physical appearance and ability. NETFIT Netball will advise any applicants that NETFIT Netball will undertake it’s due-diligence, in qualifying their credentials of working with children and accompanying reference checks, as well ensuring that at least two child-safe related queries are included in the interview process. Before confirming any appointment, NETFIT Netball undertakes appropriate screening checks of applicants including confirming their identity, criminal history/record and ensuring that they have a current Working With Children Check (WWCC). NETFIT Netball will ensure that all newly recruited staff, contractors and volunteers understand the importance of child safety and their roles and responsibilities in working with children. Newly recruited staff, contractors and volunteers will be educated on NETFIT Netball’s policies and procedures through the induction process and ongoing internal training.

Staff, Contractor and Volunteer Procedures, Support, Induction & On-Going Support

The safety and wellbeing of children is our primary concern, with the ongoing support and wellbeing of our staff being an integral pillar of the NETFIT Netball cultural philosophy. NETFIT Netball will always make thorough, transparent and evidence-base decisions regarding recruitment, incident assessment and any potential disciplinary action of any of their stakeholders. NETFIT Netball will provide all new staff, contractors and volunteers with information in their induction about our commitment to child safety and our policies and procedures. NETFIT Netball will continue to ensure that we have ongoing support, training and education in place for all of our stakeholders to ensure that they are adequately skilled to protect children from abuse, promote the cultural safety of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander’s and their children, along with the cultural safety of any children and their families from diverse background, and the safety of children with a disability.

Child, Parent and/or Guardian & Family Involvement

NETFIT Netball will promote the safe involvement and participation of children, their parents and/or guardians and families in helping develop and maintain the highest levels of child-safety when working with, or participating in NETFIT Netball organised events. NETFIT Netball will involve children, their parents and/or guardians and families when making decisions, especially about matters that will directly affect them. NETFIT Netball is proud of their track-record in listening to and considering the views and cultural sensitivities of a wide range of stakeholders and will respect their input on matters directly affecting them.

Our Responsibilities in upholding this Policy

NETFIT Netball and its stakeholders must adopt, implement and comply with this policy. NETFIT Netball will make any required amendments to their constitution, policies and procedures necessary for this policy to be enforceable, aiming to promote and deliver a model of appropriate standards of behaviour at all times. NETFIT Netball will promptly deal with any breaches, complaints and incidents or alleged breaches, complaints and incidents made under this policy in a sensitive, fair and timely manner. NETFIT Netball will recognise and enforce any penalty imposed under this policy, holding it’s staff, contractors and volunteers accountable to the consequences of any breaches, complaints and incidents, alleged or otherwise, under this policy, whether that be through internal disciplinary action or through a relevant higher authority where the breach, complaint and incident, alleged or otherwise, was reported. NETFIT Netball records all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using our Abuse & Incident Reporting Form. All of our records are securely stored, in a protected cloud system. If an allegation of abuse, or a safety concern is raised, we provide updates to the affected children and their families on the progress and actions that NETFIT Netball take in safely resolving the matter. NETFIT Netball will continue to monitor and amend this policy, in consultation with relevant stakeholders and trained professionals, to ensure that it conforms with and exceeds industry benchmark standards.

Individuals Responsibilities in upholding this Policy

Individuals, whether they be parents, guardian, siblings, grandparents, friends, teachers, supporters and any other person attending or participating in NETFIT Netball’s activities must comply with the standard of behaviour set out in this policy. All individuals must place the safety and wellbeing of children above other considerations and inline with this policy, and that of the location or event that they are attending. Individuals are responsible for their behaviour and shall not make any false, misleading or vexatious claims against any other individuals in attendance of an event, or online through one of our digital platforms. Any individual wishing to make a complaint or report a concern about possible child abuse, discrimination, harassment or any other inappropriate behaviour must consider and comply with the procedures as set out in this policy. We encourage any individual, where the risk of child abuse is grave and immediate to contact the relevant authorities or dial 000 for immediate assistance. Any individual making a complaint, or reporting a concern about possible child abuse, discrimination, harassment or any other inappropriate behaviour must understand the seriousness of reporting these allegations should they prove to be unsubstantiated and used for personal, malicious harm against another individual. Any intentional false reporting about possible child abuse, discrimination, harassment or any other inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with by the NETFIT Netball principal and may result in that individual’s exclusion from future NETFIT Netball events, with that individual also possibly subject to legal and/or criminal action depending on the nature of, and the seriousness of their actions.

Legislative Responsibilities regarding Child Safety

NETFIT Netball and their stakeholders understand that all adults who have reasonable belief that another adult had committed a sexual offence against a child under the age of 16 have an obligation to report that information to Victoria Police. NETFIT Netball and it’s stakeholders understands failure to disclose this information to the relevant authorities is a legal offence. NETFIT Netball and it’s staff, contractors and volunteers must comply with their duties to mandatorily report to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), if provided with reasonable belief, when a child is suffering physical or sexual abuse or is likely to suffer physical or sexual abuse and the person responsible for caring for that child is either delivering that abuse, threatening to deliver the abuse or failing to protect the child from that abuse. NETFIT Netball and it’s staff, contractors and volunteers understand that it is an offence if they know of a substantial risk of a child subjected to, or potentially subjected to, physical or sexual abuse and have the power, or responsibility to reduce of remove the child from the area of risk, but negligently fail to do so. NETFIT Netball advises it’s staff, contractors and volunteers to act in a safe and responsible manner when encountering children in high-risk areas to abuse and contact the DHHS or Victoria Police for urgent assistance, if required, to ensure the safety of the child and themselves. NETFIT Netball advises it’s staff, contractors or volunteers to make the principal and HR Department of any actual incidents or allegations of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, significant emotional or physiological harm or significant neglect by fellow staff, contractors or volunteers towards a child. NETFIT Netball understands that it is legally required to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of any such allegations.

NETFIT Netball’s additional responsibilities regarding Child Safety

Outside of the Legislative Responsibilities regarding Child Safety, NETFIT Netball takes any level of abuse to children, whether that be physical, sexual, mental or racial, extremely seriously and endeavour to resolve any reported cases to the relevant level of governance required, subject to the relevant level of risk. NETFIT Netball aims to work with all stakeholders, including children and their families to ensure that they all play their part in monitoring and reporting abuse, or any usual behaviour, where they believe there are reasonable grounds to report the alleged or actual abuse. NETFIT Netball deems reasonable grounds of belief to be when a child reports an actual case of physical or sexual abuse caused to themselves, or when a child reports an alleged or actual case of physical, sexual or mental abuse to someone else. Other grounds of belief are deemed to be when someone else, close to the target of abuse, reports the abuse to NETFIT Netball or it’s staff, contractor’s or volunteers or where NETFIT Netball it’s staff, contractors or volunteers observe unusual, or inconsistent, behaviour from a child where the signs of that behaviour are synonymous with abuse or where physical signs of abuse or distress or noticeable. NETFIT Netball encourages stakeholders to responsibly and voluntarily report any cases of alleged or actual abuse where they believe that the child at risk may be in need of protection, to a level higher than NETFIT Netball or it’s stakeholders may be able to provide. NETFIT Netball aims to promote a safe and accepting culture of any stakeholders who voluntarily report any cases of alleged or actual abuse, respecting the privacy of the person volunteering the report of abuse. NETFIT Netball and it’s stakeholders understand that through any reporting of abuse, whether it be self, mandatory or voluntarily that a child in need of protection may need immediate assistance where the child has been abandoned, forced out of their home, is being cared for by an unsuitable person, where their parents have passed away or where the risk of remaining in their current environment outweighs the benefits to the health and wellbeing of the child staying in that environment. NETFIT Netball and it’s stakeholders will work with the child at risk and the relevant authorities to provide a safe resolution, and resulting environment for the child.

Reporting & Responding to Allegations

NETFIT Netball and it’s stakeholders understand that it is important when receiving a report, whether it be actual or alleged, that it is important that you listen, stay calm and remain supportive of the person providing the report, whether they are the person subject to the abuse or reporting a case of suspected abuse. NETFIT Netball advises it’s staff, contractors, volunteers and any additional stakeholders when receiving a report of abuse, in addition to listening, staying calm and remaining supportive they also record the abuse, ensuring that the person making the report is clear about what is being reported and highlight if the risk is immediate and grave and the necessary measures that might be required to be put in place to remove the child at risk from their current environment. It is important to ensure that the person making the report is made to feel supported in the reporting case of abuse and reiterated to them that the person causing the abuse shall not be notified of the report until everyone affected, both the child subject to the abuse and the person making the claim, is safe. It is important to note that if the reports of abuse constitute immediate police intervention then the person receiving the abuse is required to dial 000. Whether immediate police intervention is required or not, NETFIT Netball will advise the relevant body where the abuse has taken place, if it is on location where they are completing a contract whether it be physically in person, or online ie: school, club, association, business etc, and manage the next stage of the process in-partnership with and in-line with the organisations own Child Safety Policy. NETFIT Netball will record the report of abuse, and the subsequent follow-up measures and results of the actions of all parties, in-line with their reporting systems. Those records shall be kept for a minimum of three years, or longer as required by DHHS or Victoria Police for any on-going cases. Included in the report shall be a Risk Management Assessment, determining the level or risk involved in the report of abuse, the subsequent follow-up measures, conduct of parties involved and resulting outcomes, highlighting where and how the process could be improved for any additional reports of abuse. Where required, and as a part of their on-going pursuit for the continued safety and wellbeing of children, NETFIT Netball may seek external reviews of it’s policies and procedures to ensure best practice measures are employed regarding the safety and wellbeing of all children in their care. NETFIT Netball will look to provide ongoing support to its staff, contractors and volunteers as well as any stakeholders who have made a report of abuse by conducting a “debrief” of the report and resulting outcomes and continuing to monitor the ongoing wellbeing of any child affected by abuse, offering the necessary support to ensure that the child feels safe in the current, or new, environment. NETFIT Netball aims to be an on-going and open communication channel for any person suffering from abuse, recovering from abuse, adapting to a new environment as a result of being relocated following ongoing abuse in their previous environment. NETFIT Netball also aims to provide ongoing training to its staff, contractors and volunteers to ensure that they are adequately equipped to provide support to children subject to, or recovering from abuse.

Reporting of Abuse to Parents

NETFIT Netball aims to integrate parents, guardians and relevant organisations, following the consent of parents, into the conversation, where they feel a child is at risk of being abused, self-abused or begin self-abusing with that child having either self-reported to NETFIT Netball staff, contractors of volunteers or showing signs of self-harming through their social media accounts and private messaging services. As leaders in the community, and with social media becoming an increasingly public communication platform, NETFIT Netball staff members, contractors and volunteers from time-to-time receive direct contact from children through their personal social media accounts. Should any content sent to NETFIT Netball staff members, contractors and volunteers from children show signs of that child being abused, including self-abuse, then that staff member, contractor or volunteer is required to report that abuse to NETFIT Netball, where an immediate risk-assessment shall be conducted and the necessary action taken to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing of the child at risk. Should it prove safe to do so NETFIT Netball will contact the parents/guardians of the child, making them aware of the abuse, before integrating the relevant organisation into the action plan, should their involvement be necessary. Should immediate police intervention be required, then NETFIT Netball will contact them and inform them of the situation.

Risk Management

NETFIT Netball understand that they are required to protect children when a risk has been identified. In addition to general health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of suspected, reported and actual abuse to our children. NETFIT Netball has risk management strategies in place to identify, assess and take steps to minimise child abuse risks which include risks posed by both physical and online environments.

Privacy

NETFIT Netball commit to ensuring that any personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, whether they be staff, contractors, volunteers, families or children, unless there is an immediate risk to someone’s safety. NETFIT Netball, in-line with their Privacy Policy (http://www.netfitnetball.com.au/privacy-policy/), understand that everyone is entitled to know how their information is recorded, what will be done with it and who will have access to it. NETFIT Netball’s Privacy Policy, together with their Child Safety Policy, is intended to protect anyone raising concerns around the physical, sexual or mental safety and wellbeing to ensure that all stakeholders of NETFIT Netball are comfortable disclosing those allegations without repercussions.