Safe and enjoyable sport and recreation experiences are the right of every child. Keeping children and young people safe is a priority and everyone’s responsibility. Children should be able to grow and develop in a safe environment without the risk of harm. Most people who volunteer or work with children are safe and do so to make a positive contribution and help children develop to their full potential. In order to be child safe, your organisation should embed child safety into leadership and culture, actively involve children and families and have many measures in place to safeguard children. Child safeguarding is more than just ensuring your club has a Working with Children Register. It is about creating an organisation that supports and protects children, listens to them, and believes them. Below are a number of resources that your organisation can use to establish or expand your child safeguarding policies and procedures. A child safe organisation: creates an environment where children’s safety and wellbeing are the centre of thought, values and actions emphases genuine engagement with and valuing of children creates conditions that reduce the likelihood of harm to children and young people, and creates conditions that increase the likelihood of identifying any harm.
Working with Children Screening unit
The Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA) requires people who engage in paid or unpaid child-related work, and who are not eligible for an exemption, to obtain a Working with Children (‘WWC’) Card. This is a compulsory screening strategy that aims to protect children by deterring and detecting potential harm to children. The WWC Screening unit outlines what is required of organisations on their website, which you can access below.
Netball WA's Working with Children Policies and processes are currently being finalised and will be accessible here soon.
The WWC Screening unit has developed a helpful toolkit for sport and recreation clubs. This toolkit includes template processes and policies, checklists, and guidelines on how our club can comply to the legislation. The following templates are provided in the toolkit:
Compliance ChecklistThis compliance checklist covers the step by step process of recruiting someone to your organisation and maintaining your WWC records correctly. By following this checklist, you can be confident that your organisation is meeting its requirements under the WWC legislation.
Registration Officer Position Description TemplateThis position description template is for a role that is dedicated to the maintenance of your organisation's WWC record-keeping requirements. While you may not be able to recruit a volunteer to fulfil this dedicated position, you can include its duties in another position. This way it is clear to any new volunteers what will be required of them. If you also provide them with the above Compliance Checklist, or the below WWC Check Procedures, you will be sure they know what they need to do, and how to do it!
Categories of Child-Related Work Record Sheet TemplateThis template is designed to help you identify what activities your organisation does and into which category of child-related work (as defined by the WWC Legislation) they would fall. You don't need to use this template, but it can make knowing who will need a WWC Card much easier, as you will already know that if they do a certain activity at your organisation, they are doing a certain category of child-related work.
Roles Record Sheet TemplateThis template is designed to help you identify the usual duties of each role at your organisation, and if those usual duties will likely bring the person into contact with children. Again, you don't need to use this template, but it can make things easier for your organisation when making a decision if a person needs a WWC Card or not.
Working with Children Check Policy TemplateThis a template WWC Policy that can be used by any club or association. All that is required is updating the yellow-highlighted sections, and double-checking that each part of the policy does not contradict any of your own policies. While your organisation should already following the WWC requirements, this policy publicly announces the fact that you are complying, what you are doing to comply, and what you will do if something goes wrong. This is an important part of child-safeguarding, as it shows your members and the public that your organisation is taking child-safeguarding seriously.
Working with Children Check ProceduresThis procedure, while part of the above Policy, can be taken out separately and used by any club and sporting association. As with the checklist above, it gives organisations a step by step process to follow to ensure they are complying to the WWC Legislation. Importantly, it gives organisations a clear step by step process for what to do if they receive a Negative notice or Interim Negative Notice from the WWC Screening Unit
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
In 2018, the Council of Australian Governments endorsed the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations which show how an organisation can create a culture, adopt strategies and act to promote child wellbeing and prevent harm. There are 10 Principles, all of which are:
The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations have been endorsed by members of the Council of Australian Governments, including the Prime Minister and state and territory First Ministers. The principles aim to provide a nationally consistent approach to creating organisational cultures that foster child safety and wellbeing. The National Principles reflect ten child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and are the vehicle for giving effect to recommendations relating to the standards. The National Principles have a broader scope that goes beyond child sexual abuse to cover other forms of potential harm to children and young people. The National Principles are:
1. Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
2. Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decision affecting them and are taken seriously.
3. Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
4. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
5. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
6. Processes to respond to complaints and concerns are child focused.
7. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
8. Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
9. Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved.
10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.All organisations with an involvement of children should be able to say they already uphold some of these principles, and should now begin planning as to how their organisation will uphold the rest. A good first step in this process is to complete the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries' (DLGSC) Child Safe Self-assessment Tool. You can also read more about child safeguarding and the National Principles in WA at the link below.
The DLGSC has developed a self-assessment tool designed for organisations to reflect on their current child safe practices and identify areas for improvement. This is a useful tool for netball organisations to review their child safe guarding practices and standards, and will become more and more important in netball's relationship to the DLGSC. Some netball Clubs and Associations may have already completed this, but is a good idea to review this every year. You can access the Child Safe Self-assessment Tool at the link below. If you require any assistance with completing this self assessment, or have any questions around the process, please get in touch with Netball WA's Governance and Compliance Coordinator.
Netball WA Policies and Guidelines
Netball WA is committed to educating our Clubs and Associations to ensure they have the knowledge and tools necessary to appropriately screen their members and ensure they get the right people for their organisation. Netball WA's Member Screening Guidelines, which were developed in 2018, are available to be read at the link below. Netball is currently updating these guidelines, which will be made available here when appropriate.
Play by the Rules
Play by the Rules was first developed by the South Australian Department for Sport and Recreation in 2001 as an interactive education and information website (www.playbytherules.net.au) on discrimination, harassment and child protection in sport. Over the years, as more agencies have seen the need to promote Play by the Rules, they have joined as partners and helped by contributing funds, content and in-kind support. Play by the Rules is now a unique collaboration between Sport Integrity Australia, Sport Australia, Australian Human Rights Commission, all state and territory departments of sport and recreation, all state and territory anti-discrimination and human rights agencies, the Office of the Children's Guardian (NSW) and the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW. These partners promote Play by the Rules through their networks, along with their own child safety, anti-discrimination and inclusion programs. Play by the Rules provides information, resources, tools and free online training to increase the capacity and capability of administrators, coaches, officials, players, parents and spectators to assist them in preventing and dealing with discrimination, harassment, child safety, inclusion and integrity issues in sport.
The Play by the Rules - Child Protection course is a free, interactive online training course suitable for coaches, administrators, officials, players, parents and spectators. The course is short, user-friendly and features the latest interactive technology, including case studies, practical scenarios and a quiz. The course may be done in part, or all at once. Additionally, Play by the Rules has courses on complaint handling, harassment and discrimination, inclusive coaching, being an LGBTI inclusive club, gender equality, and more. Check out the link below to go to the Play by the Rules website where you can login or make an account with Sport Integrity Australia to enrol in the courses for free.
Australia held a Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013-2017, which included sport and recreation organisations. The Commission identified 10 elements of a child safe organisation. Play by the Rules has outlined each below, and have added some tips for clubs.
1. Child safety is embedded in sport club leadership, governance and culture
2. Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
3. Families and communities are informed and involved
4. Equity is promoted and diversity respected
5. People working with children are suitable and supported
6. Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focused
7. Staff and volunteers are continually trained and educated
8. Physical and online environments minimise opportunities for abuse to occur
9. Child safe standards are continually improved and reviewed
10. Policies and procedures document how your sport organisation is child safe *
Safe Clubs 4 Kids
The Safe Clubs 4 Kids (SC4K) initiative encourages and supports the sport and active recreation industry to create and maintain safe environments for children and young people. History shows that child abuse occurs across all sectors of the community, including the area of sport and recreation. However, by taking a few simple steps such as the Safe Clubs for Kids 4 considerations, you can adopt a proactive approach to creating a safe environment for children and young people. SC4K was a proactive initiative designed to assist organisations to create child-safe environments. It was delivered by the WA Sports Federation (now SportWest) in partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation (now the DLGSC), the Working with Children Screening Unit, the WA Police – Child Abuse Squad and Surf Life Saving WA. While it is no longer in use, the initiative created some useful tools and resources, which you can learn about below.
Below are four considerations for your organisation when creating a child safe environment.
MAKE YOUR RULES CLEARCreate promote and follow appropriate policies, procedures and guidelines. Ensure policies, procedures and guidelines are clear, followed and easily accessible by all including:
GET THE RIGHT PEOPLEFollow the Netball WA Member Screening Guidelines to recruit the right people: Stage 1. Recruitment and selection Stage 2. Reference checks Stage 3. Criminal record checks (VNPC & NPC), including Working with Children Checks Stage 4. Respond to any person with a criminal record check and/or feedback of broader concern Stage 5. Appointment and induction Stage 6. Provide ongoing support, training and supervision
INVOLVE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
LEARN AND RESPOND
These videos allow engagement with regional, remote and metropolitan sport and recreation organisations to highlight a few simple steps that may assist in creating a positive, fun and safe club environment for all young people. The videos can be viewed both individually or in a sequence, depending on the relevance to you and your club. The videos, produced in October 2016, were designed to assist clubs to get the conversations started to work towards safeguarding the thousands of children and young people involved in sport and recreation across Western Australia.
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
The DLGSC has compiled a number of resources that will assist in developing your organisation's child safeguarding standards, available on their website. This includes: Member Protection Online Communication and Cyber Safety, and Complaint Management