Policy Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting Procedure

Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting Procedure


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Intent

This Procedure outlines the process that Students, Staff and Affiliates are required to follow responding to and reporting any suspected or alleged case of child exploitation, child abuse or other threat to child safety.

Scope

The Procedure applies to all members of the Council, Staff, Students, and Affiliates of James Cook University (JCU, or the University) while engaged in conduct or activities undertaken as part of their study, research, work, living and socialising which is associated with JCU.

This Procedure includes information on how to report child abuse concerns within JCU and to external authorities. This procedure is designed to complement legislative reporting requirements.

Definitions

Except as otherwise specified in this Procedure or the Child Safety Policy, the meaning of terms used are as per the Policy Glossary.

Procedure

1.   Reporting obligations

1.1   All staff, students and affiliates who believe on reasonable grounds a child is in need of protection from child abuse must report their concerns to a Child Safety Adviser where appointed and the Chief of Staff as soon as possible.

1.2   All child abuse claims have external reporting requirements. Failure to report child abuse may amount to a criminal offence from the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld), Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld), Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld).1.1

2.   Identifying child abuse

2.1     Staff, students, or affiliates may have reasonable grounds for believing a child is in need of protection from child abuse if:

a.   a child states that they have been physically or sexually abused;

b.   a child states that they know someone who has been physically or sexually abused (sometimes the child may be talking about themselves);

c.   someone who knows the child, states that the child has been physically or sexually abused;

d.   a child shows signs of being physically or sexually abused;

e.   the staff, student, or affiliate is aware of family violence, parental substance misuse or other adverse circumstances impacting on the child’s safety, stability or development;

f.   the staff, student or affiliate observes signs or indicators of abuse, including non-accidental or unexplained injury, persistent neglect, poor care or lack of appropriate supervision; or

g.   a child’s actions or behaviours may place them at risk of significant harm.

3.   How to report child abuse concerns

3.1     If a child is at immediate risk of abuse, any staff, student or affiliate is to immediately telephone the police on 000 and subsequently report the matter to the Chief of Staff.

3.2     If a student is on placement or practicum activity, the concerns are to be reported through the hospital/clinician supervisor or the teacher supervisor.

3.3     If on campus or a JCU research or teaching activity, in relation to all child abuse concerns, staff, students and affiliates must, as soon as practicable:

a.   contact the Child Safety Adviser (where appointed);

b.   the Child Safety Adviser will contact the Chief of Staff to discuss their concern in detail to ensure appropriate support is provided to any affected child and to enable the Child Safety Adviser to complete a Suspected Child Abuse Notification Form;

c.   report their child abuse concerns to external authorities as required. All concerns alleging physical abuse, a sexual offence by an adult against a child under 16 years or serious neglect must be reported to Queensland Police as they may constitute criminal offences (with limited exceptions). Child Safety Services as part of the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women must be contacted for all child abuse matters.

3.3     Where a Child Safety Adviser has not been appointed, the Chief of Staff assumes the functions and responsibilities below. Upon learning of an allegation or a disclosure of child abuse, the Child Safety Adviser (or Chief of Staff) will facilitate an appropriate and timely response by:

a.   providing a safe environment and support for the alleged victim and any other children alleged to be involved or affected as appropriate, including using appropriate supports if the child is Indigenous, of a culturally and linguistically diverse background, or has a disability;

b.   providing clear information to the alleged victim and/or their parent or guardian (where appropriate) of what will be done in response to the allegation or disclosure, including any reporting obligations;

c.   completing a Suspected Child Abuse Notification Form as soon as possible;

d.   explaining to the person who notified them of the suspected abuse, as relevant, their external reporting obligations;

e.   informing the Chief of Staff of the allegation or disclosure and providing them with the completed Suspected Child Abuse Notification Form as soon as possible to ensure the JCU meets its obligations and legislative reporting requirements, as well as assist any investigation; and

f.   keep notes and records of all conversations, disclosures and of all follow-up actions which are to be marked ‘Private and Confidential’.

3.4     If information is received alleging a staff member or affiliate has abused a child, the Suspected Child Abuse Notification Form will be provided to the Chief of Staff by the relevant Child Safety Adviser as soon as practicable, but within 24 hours. The Director Human Resources may initiate Management action (such as suspension) with the staff member, volunteer or affiliate as appropriate and in accordance with the Staff Code of Conduct and misconduct/serious misconduct clauses of the JCU Enterprise Agreement pending the outcome of either a disciplinary or court process and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all parties including rights to natural justice and confidentiality.

3.5     If a staff member is found guilty of an offence by a court of competent jurisdiction then action can be taken as a breach of the Staff Code of Conduct and in accordance with the misconduct/serious misconduct clauses of the JCU Enterprise Agreement.

3.6     If information is received alleging another student has abused a child, the Suspected Child Abuse Notification Form will be provided to the Chief of Staff by the relevant Child Safety Adviser as soon as practicable, but within 24 hours. The Director Student Services may undertake Precautionary action with the student in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and misconduct procedures pending the outcome of either a disciplinary or court process and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all parties including rights to natural justice and confidentiality.

3.7     If a student is found guilty of an offence by a court of competent jurisdiction then action can be taken as a breach of the Student Code of Conduct and misconduct procedures.

4.   Confidentiality and Record Keeping

4.1     Staff, students and affiliates must respect confidentiality and comply with JCU’s Information Privacy Policy when dealing with a case of suspected child abuse. Only the staff, students or affiliates directly involved in the management of the child’s situation and responsible for meeting the reporting obligations are to be involved in any discussion involving the child’s identity, details of injury or suspected abuse, and their family.

4.2     The Queensland State Archivist has directed a government wide disposal freeze for records that are relevant to, or may become relevant to, an allegation of child sexual abuse. The disposal freeze has been issued in response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Any records covered by this disposal freeze in an authorised retention and disposal schedule must not be destroyed.

Related policy instruments

Child Safety Policy

Welfare and Support Arrangements for under 18 International Students Procedure

Working with Children Check (Blue Card) procedure

Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure for Staff and Affiliates

Code of Conduct

Explanatory Statement to the Code of Conduct

James Cook University Enterprise Agreement (staff only)

Student Code of Conduct

Student General Misconduct Procedures

Academic Misconduct Procedures

Related documents and legislation

Child Protection Act (Qld) 1999

Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

Public Records Act (Qld) 2002

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018Standard 5: Younger Overseas Students

AHRC National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

DFAT Child Protection Policy 2017

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) - Updated 2018, Chapter 4.2: Children and Young People

Child Employment Regulation 2016

Schedules/Appendices

  1. Flow Chart - Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting Procedure
  2. Suspected Child Abuse Notification Form

Administration

Approval Details

Policy sponsor:

Vice Chancellor

Version no.:

19-1

Date for next review:

27/09/2022

Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Policy Author

19-1

27/09/2019

01/10/2019

Procedure established

Chief of Staff