Children and Young People Safety Policy

 

Council Policy No. C29.2

 

Policy Category

☒ Council          ☐Academic       ☐Management

 

Purpose

The University of South Australia is committed to providing a safe environment that protects children and young people from harm. This policy supports this commitment and demonstrates the University’s compliance with the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA)  (CYPS Act); the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA)  (CSPP Act); and the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Regulations 2019(SA) (CSPP Regulations).  

Scope

This policy applies to all University staff, students, contractors, adjunct or honorary appointments, and volunteers in physical and online environments.

 

Exclusions

There are no exclusions.



Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all staff and students of the University to comply with this policy and associated procedures and support their implementation.

 

The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture is the Responsible Officer for ensuring that the University complies with the CYPS and CSPP Acts and related Regulations as they pertain to staff.

 

The Chief Academic Services Officer is the Responsible Officer for ensuring that safe environments are established for children and young people accessing and participating in our services and activities.

 

Policy

  1. The University of South Australia (UniSA) is committed to providing an environment for children and young people that supports their engagement and full access in all aspects of university life, free from risk of harm.

 

  1. While UniSA does not provide services wholly to children and young people, there will be some students who are under the age of 18 at the commencement of their studies. Our external engagement, research and teaching services and mentoring and clinic-based activities may also include interaction with children and young people.

 

  1. UniSA will take all reasonable steps to engage suitably qualified individuals to work with children and young people in the delivery of its services and activities.

 

  1. A Working with Children Check assists the University in its commitment to protecting children and young people from harm by screening staff prior to employment in prescribed positions.

 

  1. UniSA requires and supports the prompt reporting of reasonable suspicion that a child or young person is at risk of harm, including physical or psychological harm or neglect to the relevant authorities in accordance with our legislative responsibilities.

 

  1. Our principles

 

6.1      UniSA is committed to fulfilling its legislative obligations.

 

6.2      UniSA acknowledges and recognises the importance of providing for the wellbeing of all children and young people as valued members of our community and the University’s responsibility in providing them the environment in which to thrive.

 

6.3      We will:

6.3.1        establish clear processes to minimise the risk of harm to children and young people on-campus and in relation to University-related activities off-campus by providing child safe environments;

6.3.2        take appropriate steps to identify all positions that involve, or are likely to involve, working with children (prescribed positions);

6.3.3        ensure any staff member in a prescribed position holds a current and valid Working with Children Check;

6.3.4        monitor prescribed positions to ensure the occupants hold a valid Working with Children Check;

6.3.5        not employ staff in prescribed positions without a current and valid Working with Children Check or who have been identified as prohibited persons;

6.3.6        comply with legislative responsibilities to notify the Department of Human Services of assessable information as it pertains to University staff required to hold a valid Working with Children Check; and

6.3.7        provide support and information to staff and students to maintain the University as a child safe environment and foster an understanding of individual and organisational obligations for child safety, protection and reporting obligations.

 

6.4      UniSA staff, volunteers, non-paid personnel and students are expected to be active participants in maintaining a safe environment for children and young people, consistent with the requirements of the University’s codes of conduct and relevant policies. This includes providing a safe environment for students participating in online environments to protect children and young people from sexual exploitation and abuse.

 

  1. Obligation to Report Reasonable Suspicion of Harm

 

7.1      Consistent with section 31 of the CYPS Act 2017, certain staff members may be required by law to make a report to the Department of Child Protection where they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk, as set out in section 18 of CYPS Act 2017.

 

7.2         In accordance with its obligations, the University requires that where a student or staff member (paid and non-paid) forms a reasonable suspicion through the course of their engagement or studies that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk, that person must report their suspicion to the Child Abuse Report Line as soon as possible. A report can be made by telephoning 13 14 78, or by submitting an online report via the Department for Child Protection website. 

 

7.3         Students undertaking practical training as part of a vocational or educational course or carrying out non-paid work e.g. as a volunteer, are also obliged to make a report, if a child or young person is suspected on reasonable grounds to be at risk.

 

7.4         If the individual at risk of harm is a student of the University, staff must also report their reasonable suspicion to the Chief Academic Services Officer. Where reasonable suspicion relates to the conduct of a staff member the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture must be notified.

 

7.5         UniSA is committed to maintaining confidentiality when dealing with and reporting on reasonable suspicion of risk of harm or allegations of child abuse, neglect and exploitation, except as required by law.

 

7.6         In supporting child safe environments, the University may also require a person to undergo screening as a condition of appointment to a position in the University or as a result of a third-party requirement to obtain a Working with Children Check.

 

Related Documentation

  • Management of Prescribed Positions Procedure
  • Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017
  • Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016
  • Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Regulations 2019
  • Code of Ethical Conduct
  • Code of Good Practice: Relationships between Staff and Students
  • Code of Conduct for Students
  • C-22 Acceptable Use of Information Technology
  • A-46 Confidentiality of Students' Personal Information
  • C-36 Management of Conflict of Interest Policy
  • C-12 Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy
  • C-17 Student Complaints Resolution Policy
  • C-24 Risk Management Policy
  • RES-2 Human Research Ethics
  • Discrimination and harassment grievance procedures: staff
  • UniSA Enterprise Agreements
  • Guidelines for Hire of University Facilities

 

Definitions

Children and young people are persons aged under 18 years.


Prescribed position means a paid or non-paid role in which a person works, or is likely to work with children, or any other position prescribed by the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Regulations 2019 in accordance with Section 5 (1) of the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016.  

 

Prohibited Person refers to a person who is prohibited from working with children or young people in accordance with section 15 of the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016.

 

Reasonable suspicion refers to a judgement that a child is at risk of harm based on personal observations, information, and opinions formed while carrying out work duties.

 

Responsible Officer refers to either the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture or the Chief Academic Services Officer as outlined in this policy.

 

Staff refers to an individual employed by UniSA under the University’s Enterprise Agreements, adjuncts, visiting academics and guest lecturers, whether they are paid or unpaid, volunteers or persons performing work for UniSA under a contract for services.

 

Student refers to an enrolled student at the University or a prospective student engaged with the University for the purposes of enrolment.

 

Working with Children Check refers to an assessment and decision conducted in accordance with the CSPP Act required for a person to undertake a prescribed position.

 

Document History

This Policy supersedes all previous versions of this policy, originally approved by Council 19 April 2007 as C‑29-2.

 

Approval and Review

Approved by

Approval Date

Review

Council

Date 24 March 2020

March 2025

 

Responsible Officers

Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture and the Chief Academic Services Officer