This policy relates to the National Principles for Child Safety, Family Law Act 1975, Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW), United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The purpose of this policy is to guide staff on their responsibilities to ensure that children are protected from harm, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Child harm or abuse – refers to any intentional or unintentional act that causes physical, emotional, sexual harm or neglect to a child under the age of 18. It can include physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect, and can also involve exploitation or exposure to harmful behaviours such as drug use or violence.
Mandatory reporting – refers to a legal requirement for certain individuals or organizations to report information about incidents or behaviours to the appropriate authorities.
Cultural safety – refers to an approach that recognizes and respects the cultural differences and diversity of individuals and aims to create an environment in which all individuals feel safe, respected, and understood.
This policy applies to all employees of Southern Cross Housing, including directors, contractors /subcontractors, volunteers, and other person(s) who perform work for or on behalf of Southern Cross Housing.
Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in SCH’s leadership, governance, and culture to ensure that children are safe and protected in all environments.
Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously. This will be achieved via the provision of information, education, and support.
Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing; creating a strong foundation for children to thrive and reach their full potential.
SCH recognises and respects the diverse needs and experiences of different groups, including but not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, age ability and socioeconomic status.
SCH employees working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice. This is achieved by the provision of regular training and professional development opportunities to ensure staff are up to date with best practice in child protection and wellbeing.
All complaints and concerns, including breaches of the Code of Conduct are taken seriously. Information is recorded and investigated in accordance with SCH Complaints policy and Mandatory Child Protection Reporting policy, providing feedback in a timely manner.
SCH’s physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
The implementation of the National Child Safe Principles is regularly reviewed and improved in accordance with SCH Policy schedule and/or when regulatory updates occur.
SCH Human Resources has the responsibility to ensure that all persons to be employed verify their WWCC (Working with Children Check) credentials, including monitoring the expiry of WWCC. Staff whose WWCC is suspended or expired are not permitted to work with children.
All SCH staff are responsible for maintaining a current WWCC and Police Check clearance, completing mandated child safety training and uphold SCH’s Values and Code of Conduct in accordance with this policy.
Executive, Manager Property Services is responsible for ensuring all contractors/sub-contractors have provided and maintain current Police Checks.