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Echuca

Child Protection:

Working With Children Checks

 March, 2016

1.0         PREAMBLE        

The dignity of the human person, who is created in the image and likeness of God, is the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching. This Catholic anthropology leads us to afford all people, but especially children, young people and the most vulnerable, the highest respect. Within this context, effective Catholic schools provide a safe, supportive and secure environment that promotes respect and care and values diversity. The mental, physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of children and young people are essential preconditions for successful learning. These qualities cannot be developed for individuals in isolation from the health and wellbeing of the school community as a whole.

St Mary’s is committed to the creation of a safe, just and respectful environment that supports wellness for all members of the school community. In this, there is a moral obligation and shared responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of the community.

St Mary’s believes that, while protecting children and young people against sexual abuse is a community wide responsibility, schools have particular moral and legal responsibilities to ensure children and young people are safe in their care and to actively and intentionally work to eliminate all forms of abusive behaviours towards children. There are also particular moral and legal obligations for those in authority to prevent, reduce and minimise child abuse and exploitation in all forms.

2.0        PURPOSE

This policy applies to whole school community in supporting safe environments for all children and young people.

It concerns the responsibilities of schools in complying with the provisions of the Victorian Working with Children Act 2005, which was enacted to assist in protecting children from sexual or physical harm by ensuring that people who work with, or care for, them are subject to a screening process. [Working With Children Act 2005, s.1(1)]

A Working with Children Check (WWCC) is required of most people involved in twenty occupational fields of child-related work as paid workers or volunteers - where that work is not directly supervised by someone with an appropriate check:

While staff are responsible for obtaining their own check, each School must ensure valid checks are held by all those requiring one.

This also means that each school must ensure all teaching staff maintain their registrations with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and makes it even more critical that the school maintains ongoing records of this.

Volunteers who work with children will also require a WWCC, unless they are exempt.

NOTE: A Working with Children Check is a minimum requirement of a school’s Duty of Care – it provides evidence that a person has not been found guilty of sexual abuse. It does not endorse any person as being suitable to work with children. Systematic and rigorous screening processes also need to be undertaken in every school to reduce as much as possible the risk of harm to any student.

3.0        KEY PRINCIPLES

4.0        DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of the Working with Children Act 2005:

Note: “Work is not child-related work by reason only of occasional direct contact with children that is incidental to the work.”

  1. IMPLEMENTATION

This policy applies to the whole school community in supporting safe environments for all children and young people.

6.0        RELATED DOCUMENTATION

This policy should be read in conjunction with the other SSEB Policies and CEO resources concerned with Child Safety and Pastoral Wellbeing:

  1. REFERENCES

 http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/wwca2005232/

8.0 REVIEW

Initially Ratified:                        March, 2016

Reviewed March, 2019.  Next Review 2020