Keeping our children safe is an important responsibility we all share. Our children have the right to be protected wherever they are, and that includes at school and in other education environments away from home.
That’s why Victoria phased in new compulsory child safe standards during 2016 and 2017. The standards apply to registered schools and other organisations that work with children and young people up to 18 years old. The standards will build on our already strong stance on preventing and responding to child abuse, providing more accountability and more consistency about how these issues are dealt with.
Victoria’s new child safe standards require schools and organisations to have particular measures in place to prevent and respond to child abuse, sending a clear message that abuse will not be tolerated. The standards call for documented child safe policies, codes of conduct and clear strategies for responding to suspected abuse. Schools and other organisations will have accountabilities for minimising the risk of child abuse in their organisation.
Empowering children to understand their rights and raise concerns are also part of the new standards, because we know this is a powerful protective factor against child abuse. Victoria’s child safe standards include special protections for some children. Children with a disability, Aboriginal children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are all given particular focus.
This will help ensure all our children, regardless of their background and needs, are protected in our learning environments.
The safety of our children is a top priority for Armstrong Creek School. They deserve nothing less.
What the child safe standards mean for your child and school:
- Students have the right to be safe and protected, including at school.
- Armstrong Creek School has a comprehensive Student Engagement and Inclusion Policy, Mandatory Reporting Policy, Code of Conduct Policy and safety procedures and practices in place which aim to keep students safe.
- Ensuring student safety is a top priority for Armstrong Creek School. Child abuse will not be tolerated.
Armstrong Creek School takes the responsibilities for managing child safe standards seriously.
- promoting the empowerment and participation of students in their school
- building confidence in students to understand their rights and responsibilities
- encouraging students to raise any concern they may have as a powerful protective factor against child abuse
- reporting concerns about a student’s safety to staff, parents and guardians, and if necessary the Victoria Police, Child Protection and other agencies.
What we do to prevent abuse at ACS.
- ACS supports all students through a preventative and intervention approach. Teachers deliver classroom social skills, wellbeing programs and activities at each level which build positive relationships, self-confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness skills.
- Teachers provide curriculum and programs valuing difference and focus on student safety. In all classrooms, we actively promote an environment which is safe, supportive and inclusive. Programs to support child safety and positive relationships include: School Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework, Respectful Relationship framework, Being a
- Positive Bystander program, lunch time clubs and social groups.
The school also has guest speakers throughout the year on subjects such as ‘bullying’ and ‘cyber bullying’. Teachers and students discuss the school values and expectations on a regular basis as well as yard expectations, student rights and responsibilities.
- All staff at ACS are aware of their Mandatory reporting obligations.
ACS employs strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety.
- Students, staff and families are supported by the School Leadership, Teachers, DET Network which includes allied health professionals and specialists’ agencies.
- Teaching staff are VIT registered which includes successfully completed Police Checks. Additional staff / personal and volunteers are supervised in Learning Communities or screened to work on the school site with approved Working with Children Checks. All parent volunteers must undergo a Parent Helpers session during which the Child Safe specifications are highlighted.
- Being safe, and knowing what to do if something doesn’t feel ok.
- You have the right to be safe and free from abuse, including at school.
- Schools and other child-related organisations have to follow laws to protect children in their organisations from abuse.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse includes:
- sexual or grooming offences
- physical violence
- serious emotional or psychological harm
- serious neglect
Who can I talk to about this?
- If you are worried about child abuse, for you or someone you know, there are people you can talk to.
- The Child Safe Officers at Armstrong Creek School is Dehlia Dawson, Assistant Principal.
- It’s a good idea to talk to an adult you trust about any concerns you have. That person might be a parent or relative, a teacher, or someone who works at your school. You may want to talk to more than one person about your concerns.
Related Policies and Procedures
(you will find all of these on the school website and you may ask for these at the front office)
- Child Safe Policy, Processes and Standards
- Code of Conduct Policy
- Mandatory Reporting Policy and Procedures
There are services that you can contact to access more information, and in some cases, to speak to somebody about your concerns.
- National Child Abuse Helpline (Child Wise) – 1800 991 099
- A toll-free number with access to expert advice from trained counsellors and an opportunity to speak up about child abuse.
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- For any time and for any reason – free, private and confidential phone and online counselling 24 hrs a day 7 days a week.
- Headspace (National Youth Mental Health Foundation) – 1800 650 890
- Headspace can help if you are aged 12 or over and you are going through a tough time. You can talk to someone at Headspace on the phone, online or in person. They also have a lot of information on their website.
- Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault – 1800 806 292
- Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault provide services to child and adult victims/survivors of sexual assault. The assault may have occurred recently or in the past.
- Create Foundation – 1800 655 105
- Creating a better life for children and young people in care.
- Youthlaw – 03 9611 2412
- Free and confidential legal advice