Child Safety at DJPR
The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions is committed to creating a child safe organisation in accordance with the Child Safe Standards.
The Child Safe Standards are minimum compulsory standards on all organisations that interact with children and young people. The Standards aim to prevent abuse by driving cultural change and to help ensure that protecting children from the risks of abuse is embedded in everyday thinking and practice.
The department's Child Safe Policy aims to protect children, assist staff in addressing allegations of abuse appropriately, and reduce opportunities for abuse or harm to occur. The policy comprises:
- Statement of Commitment to the Child Safe Standards which outlines the department's commitments under the Child Safe Standards to create a child safe organisation; and
- Child Safe Code of Conduct which sets out expectations for appropriate behaviour of all persons engaged by the department when interacting with children and young people.
This policy applies to all departmental staff, including the Secretary, employees, contractors, agency on hire, consultants, work experience students and volunteers.
Statement of Commitment to the Child Safe Standards
The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions has zero tolerance of child abuse and is committed to taking the necessary steps to protect children from harm by adopting a preventative, proactive and participatory approach to child safety.
We recognise the increased vulnerabilities of certain children, including indigenous Australians, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those with disabilities, and those who identify with the LGBTIQ community, all of whom may be unable to speak up or communicate, and the need to promote their cultural and physical safety.
In creating and maintaining child safety, the department is committed to:
- Developing and maintaining policies and procedures that incorporate the Child Safe Standards and Child Safe Principles, including guidance on appropriate behaviour in the department's Child Safe Code of Conduct;
- Fostering a culture of openness and awareness that supports all persons to safely disclose risks of harm to children;
- Responding promptly, consistently and appropriately to all allegations of child abuse, reflecting the department's position of addressing all such allegations seriously in line with departmental policies and procedures;
- Ensuring only the most suitable people work with children and young people through rigorous recruitment processes, appropriate supervision and training;
- Ensuring that new and existing employees are aware of their obligations and understand the importance of protecting children from harm through induction, training and professional development;
- Having reporting, monitoring, compliance and evaluation systems in place to protect children from abuse, and proactively assessing and managing risks of abuse to children and young people in all of our services or activities;
- Incorporating processes that involve actively listening to children and young people to empower them and encourage their participation in decisions on matters relating to their wellbeing in all of our relevant services and activities; and
- Addressing the particular needs of vulnerable children by creating safeguards in our practices to prevent discrimination and offer education on promoting cultural safety to staff.
Child Safe Code of Conduct
DJPR's Child Safe Code of Conduct applies to all departmental staff, including the Secretary, employees, contractors, agency on hire, consultants, work experience students and volunteers.
All departmental staff are responsible for supporting the safety, participation, wellbeing and empowerment of children and young people (collectively 'children') they come into contact with, whether in the workplace or offsite, and must:
- abide by the department's Child Safe Policy and obligation to creating a child safe organisation
- listen to and treat children with respect, including valuing ideas and opinions
- take all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse by being vigilant to signs of abuse
- provide a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all children
- promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of all children
- work with children in an open and transparent way. For example, by ensuring that, where appropriate, interactions with children can be observed by other adults
- disclose any information of charges, convictions of abuse and all other offence history in accordance with the department's screening policies
- challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations or suspicions of child abuse to the department's Child Safety Officer
- respect the privacy of children and their families and only disclose information to people on a need to know basis and in accordance with privacy legislation
- encourage children to 'have a say' and participate in all relevant organisational activities where possible, especially on issues that are important to them
- ensure reported allegations of child abuse are appropriately documented.
Departmental staff must not:
- develop inappropriate relationships with children
- display violent behaviour before or towards a child
- ignore or disregard any concerns, suspicions or disclosures of child abuse
- initiate unnecessary physical contact with children or exhibit behaviours with children which may be construed as inappropriate
- put children at risk of abuse (for example, by allowing unnecessary one-adult/one-child encounters to occur)
- conduct a sexual relationship with a child or indulge in any form of sexual contact with a child
- engage in open discussions of a mature nature in the presence of children
- use inappropriate, offensive, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning, culturally inappropriate or discriminatory language when speaking with, or in the presence of, a child
- discriminate against any child, including because of age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability, sexuality, ethnicity or disability
- use any computer, mobile phone, or video and digital camera to exploit or harass children or expose children to offensive or sexualised content
- exchange personal contact details with a child such as phone number, social networking sites or email address, unless in case of necessity or with the legal guardian's consent.
All staff are obliged to report any breaches of this policy to the appropriate person. In instances where a reportable allegation has been made, the matter will be managed in accordance with the department's Reportable Conduct Policy and may be subject to referral to the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police.
Making a report
Any person may report a concern regarding the behaviour of departmental employees, contractors or volunteers for the welfare of children through the department's Reportable Conduct Scheme.
For more information on this process please visit the Reportable Conduct Scheme page.
If you have any questions about the Child Safe Standards at DJPR you may contact:
DJPR Child Safe Officer
Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
Commissioner for Children and Young People
For more information visit the Child Safe Standards.
Page last updated: 28 June 2019