Child Safety Policy

POLICY NO: C-29.2

DATE OF APPROVAL: 19 April 2007
Council Resolution
2007/1/5

AMENDMENTS: August 2014 University Council 2014/4/7; 22 October 2018 ED PTC re legislative change

REFERENCE AUTHORITY: Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture

CROSS REFERENCES:

  • C-22: Acceptable Use of Information Technology
  • Code of Ethical Conduct
  • Code Of Good Practice: Relationships between Staff and Students
  • Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017
  • Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016
  • Children’s Protection Act 1993 (to be repealed)
  • UniSA Enterprise Bargaining Agreements
  • Confidentiality of Students' Personal Information
  • C-24: Risk Management
  • Procedures for UniSA Staff applying for a criminal history clearance
  • RES-2: Human research ethics
  • Guidelines for Hire of University Facilities
  • Records Management
  • Code of Conduct for Students
  • C-19: Prevention of violence on campus
  • C-17: student complaints resolution
  • C-12: sexual harassment
  • Discrimination and harassment grievance procedures: staff

 

CONTENTS:
Preamble
Scope
Definition
Policy and Procedures


Preamble

UniSA is committed to providing a child safe environment that protects children from abuse and harm. This policy explains how UniSA demonstrates compliance with the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017; the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016; Child Safe Environments: Principles of Good Practice; Standards for dealing with information obtained about the criminal history of employees and volunteers who work with children; and Guidelines for Mandated Notifiers and Information for Organisations.

Scope

This policy applies to UniSA staff, students, and volunteers in physical and online environments.

Definitions

Abuse/neglect refers to sexual, physical or emotional abuse, which causes or puts the child at risk of serious physical, psychological or emotional harm.

Acts refer to the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (CYPS Act) and the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (CSPP Act)

Child refers to a person aged under 18 years.

Direct supervision refers to a supervisor's ongoing physical presence.

Exempt parties or activities refer to exemptions specified in the Act that limit its applicability.

Harm to children is a result of abuse or neglect. It includes serious harm to physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing.

Mandatory notification refers to the process of reporting suspected abuse/neglect of a child, supported by reasonable suspicions.

Natural Justice refers to a set of principles designed to promote fairness. The principles include

  • all parties to a dispute must be given an the opportunity to present their case;
  • a respondent to allegations must receive proper notice of and information about the allegations; and
  • a reasonable timeframe within which to respond;
  • the decision maker must declare any conflict of interest, act fairly and without bias, and consider and base any decision on the information before him/her;
  • all parties must be informed of the decision maker's decision and the reasons for the decision.

Prescribed function refers to:

  • regular contact with children or regular work in close proximity to children without direct supervision; or
  • supervising or managing persons in positions that involve regular contact or close proximity with children; or
  • accessing education records relating to children.

Prescribed position refers to a position, the duties of which include a prescribed function.

Reasonable suspicion refers to a judgement that a child is being or has been abused or neglected, based on personal observations, information, and opinions formed while carrying out official work duties.

Responsible Officer refers to the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture

Risk assessment refers to a process of evaluating potential risks of harm to children or an individual child.

Staff refers to a person performing work for UniSA under a contract for services.

Student refers to an enrolled student at UniSA.

Working with Children Check refers to an assessment and decision about whether a person is suitable to work with children based on any relevant criminal history and the assessed risk of harm to children who receive the service.

Policy and Procedures

1.     Responsibilities

1.1 The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture is the Responsible Officer for ensuring that UniSA complies with the CYP and CSPP Acts as they pertain  refers to the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016  as it pertains to staff. The Director Student and Academic Services is the Responsible Officer for student related activities.  

 

The Responsible Officers provide support and advice to the UniSA community about children's protection issues.

1.2 Central units and local areas are responsible for implementing training and providing relevant resources to staff and students.

1.3 The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture is responsible for overseeing working with children checks at UniSA.

1.4 The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture is responsible for conducting risk assessment activities related to the Acts, including a yearly audit.

 

2. Legislative Obligations

2.1 The Acts apply to UniSA as an organisation that provides education services. While UniSA does not provide services wholly to children, some of its outreach, research, and teaching activities include interaction with children. A small number of commencing students are children.

2.2 The Acts require UniSA to ensure that a working with children check is undertaken before a person can occupy or be appointed to a prescribed position.

2.3 The Acts provides that UniSA may require a working with children check to be undertaken at any time for any person who is occupying a prescribed position or undertaking prescribed functions.

2.4 The Acts require UniSA to implement a procedure for reporting child abuse or neglect.

2.5 The Acts require UniSA to establish and maintain child safe environments.

3. Research activities

3.1 Research activities involving interactions with children must be approved in accordance with the UniSA Framework for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

4. Training and Awareness

4.1 UniSA will provide child protection training and/or information to ensure that the University is a child safe environment. Training may be provided in various ways, including under a general induction program, internal communication, external providers, or within a course curriculum.

4.2 From time to time, staff in prescribed positions may be directed to attend training. This may include Responding to Abuse and Neglect training (RAN-EC).

4.3 All UniSA staff should actively participate in training that is relevant to their role.

4.4 Staff and students who are required to undergo a working with children check as a condition of professional registration must undertake any other training also required by their professional registration body.

5. Notification of abuse or neglect

5.1 While mandatory reporting applies only to parties in prescribed positions, a shared moral responsibility to contribute to a child safe environment applies to all members of the UniSA community.

5.2 If, in the course of carrying out their work or study functions, a UniSA staff member, student, or volunteer forms a reasonable suspicion that a child is being or has been abused or neglected, that person must report their suspicion to the Child Abuse Report Line as soon as possible by telephoning 13 14 78 or submitting an online report.

5.3 The report must include a statement of observations, information and opinions on which the person's suspicion is based.

5.4 The person must also report their suspicions to the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture if the suspicions relate to another UniSA staff member or student. UniSA may take action in accordance with relevant policies or instruments as applicable.

5.5 UniSA recognises that support may be required for any party when a report is made. As different parties have different needs, UniSA will provide specific information or services to children, students, or staff.

6. Working with Children Checks

6.1 Where UniSA is required to obtain information about a person's criminal history, it will do so by obtaining a working with children check and letter of clearance from the Department of Human Services’ Screening Unit.

6.2 The working with children check may include information about charges or convictions for offences committed in South Australia or elsewhere. The authorised screening unit may use this information to notify UniSA of the relevant person's suitability for child-related employment.

6.3 In lieu of undergoing a working with children check, UniSA may accept a criminal history assessment conducted within the preceding three years by another organisation. The criminal history assessment must have been obtained for the purpose of working with children in a comparable role.

 

7. Recruitment

7.1 It may be a condition of appointment to a position at UniSA for a person to undergo a working with children check. The requirement to undergo a working with children check will be clearly stated in the position description, advertisement, selection process, or employment contract.

7.2 When deciding whether to appoint a person to an available position, UniSA will determine whether or not a position is prescribed and consider the level of risk of harm to children posed by an adverse working with children check. UniSA will also take into account personal, contextual, and situational factors when determining the risk of harm. The working with children check will be undertaken at the final stage of the recruitment process.

7.3 If a working with children check cannot be obtained prior to making an offer to appoint, the preferred candidate will be required to sign a statutory declaration relating to their suitability to work with children. The candidate may then be appointed, but will be prohibited from carrying out any prescribed functions until the working with children check has been received. If the assessment is adverse to the candidate, the appointment may be terminated immediately without notice on the basis that the candidate provided false or misleading information under his or her statutory declaration.

7.4 At any time before or after appointing a person to a prescribed position, UniSA may request further information about the person's working with children check from the person or the
organisation that provided the assessment. If this further information changes the University's perceptions about risk of harm to children, UniSA may terminate the appointment.

7.5 Any decision based on receipt of an adverse working with children check will be made subject to the principles of natural justice.

7.6 While evidence of criminal history unrelated to a risk of harm to children will not automatically preclude a person from obtaining or maintaining employment at UniSA, UniSA reserves the right to decide whether or not to engage or retain an individual to work with children.

 

8. Transitional Arrangements

8.1 Where an existing staff member is required to undergo a working with children check and the results of that assessment are adverse to the staff member, the staff member will be provided with an opportunity to respond, in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

8.2 If the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture determines that the adverse assessment means that the staff member is not suited to perform his or her position, the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture will determine the appropriate action to take, in accordance with any applicable procedures under the relevant industrial agreement.

8.3 Existing staff who refuse to undergo a working with children check may not continue in a prescribed position or move to a different prescribed position. The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture will manage refusal to undergo a working with children check for prescribed positions in accordance with any applicable procedures under the relevant industrial agreement.

 

9. Changes to Duties/Functions

9.1 From time to time, a position that is not prescribed may attract new compliance obligations under the Acts. Staff should notify their local People, Talent and Culture business partner if they are involved in any work that may require proximity to, contact with, or access to information about children, and comply with any directions subsequently given.

9.2 Staff may be required to undertake work in other jurisdictions that involves compliance with the child protection laws of that other state. Staff must adhere to any additional compliance requirements.

10. Costs

10.1 Criminal history assessments remain current for a period of three (3) years. Staff in prescribed positions are required to meet the costs of and undergo further working with children check at intervals no later than three years from the date an assessment was last obtained, to maintain their currency.

10.3 The following working with children check costs must be met by the person concerned, and will not be met by UniSA:
a. assessment required as a condition of a person's professional registration;
b. assessment required for successful appointment to a prescribed position at UniSA;
c. assessment required for participation in a secondment, placement, or training opportunity.

11. Record Keeping

11.1 UniSA retains confirmation that a working with children check has been obtained for relevant positions, a statement of how an individual's criminal history assessment affected decision-making about that person's suitability to work with children, and applicable statutory declarations in accordance with the relevant State Records Disposal Schedule.

11.3 Staff and students must notify UniSA of changes to their working with children check as soon as practicable.

12. International Applicants

12.1 International applicants must comply with any directions given by UniSA for providing evidence that demonstrates suitability to work with children that could be used in lieu of a criminal history assessment.

13. Exempt parties or activities

13.1 The CSPP Act exempts certain positions and activities from the requirement to undergo a working with children check. Queries about whether particular positions or activities are subject to the Act should be directed to the Responsible Officer.

14. Children of staff and students

14.1 UniSA recognises that staff and students may occasionally need to bring their children onto UniSA premises. The following conditions apply:
a. Caregivers are solely responsible for supervising their children while on UniSA premises.
b. Children suffering serious communicable medical conditions are not permitted onto UniSA
premises.
c. Children may enter a learning activity only where the lecturer/tutor consents. In consenting, the lecturer/tutor must take into account whether learning materials discussed in the activity are suitable for children.
d. Children must not enter potentially unsafe premises such as laboratories, workshops, and construction sites.

15. Learning and teaching activities

15.1 Any newly proposed or continuing learning and teaching activities involving children must obtain prior approval from the Head of School.

15.2 Written parental consent must be obtained for a child to participate in a UniSA learning and teaching activity. The consent form must include detailed information about the activity, contact details for relevant UniSA staff, and an assurance that the activity has been approved by the Head of School.

15.3 UniSA staff conducting or participating in learning and teaching activities that involve children must ensure that any face to face contact with a child is undertaken in the presence of another adult.

15.4 Recordings of learning and teaching activities should ensure that child participants cannot be identified. Recordings of learning and teaching activities must be managed in accordance with privacy requirements.


1See definitions below

2 A relevant body approved to make judgement on a national police check includes:

  • members of the University staff employed for this purpose
  • reference groups such as the Education Sector Reference Group
  • external organisations such as the Teachers' Registration Board or the South Australian Medical Board
  • placement sites such as hospitals or clinical settings.