Conduct relating to children and young people
Our organisation’s commitment to providing a safe environment for the children and young people to whom we provide services is endorsed and approved at the highest levels of our organisation, represented by the Chairperson of the Board of Directors.
Adhering to role boundaries
- Our personnel should not, of their own volition or at the request of a service user, act outside the confines of their duties (as specified in their position description) when helping to deliver our programs.
- All involved personnel:
- must not provide unauthorised transportation, or transport unauthorised Personnel, clients or other people related to our works or programs
- must not engage in activities with children or young people who are clients/members of our organisation outside authorised programming, such as babysitting or social events;
- must not provide any form of support to a child or young person or their family, unrelated to the roles and responsibilities as defined in their position description, for example, informal counselling or financial support;
- must not seek contact with children or young people (or former participants under the age of 18) outside our programming;
- must not accept an invitation to attend any private social function at the request of a child or young person - or at the request of their family - who has participated, or is participating, in our programming without express permission by senior management at Stand Up. The exception to this is if the event is a public event, open to the community.
- Must limit communication to children inside our services, and refrain from engaging children such as siblings or friends who are known to personnel via a child participating in the service.
- If any of our personnel become aware of a situation in which a child or young person requires assistance that is beyond the confines of that person’s role, or beyond the scope of our organisation’s usual service, they should at the earliest opportunity:
- seek advice from their immediate supervisor/management who will refer the child or young person to an appropriate support agency or
- contact the child or young person’s parent or guardian to deal with the matter
Use of electronic communications
- Wherever possible, email and text messages sent to a child or young person should be copied to their parent or guardian
Where a parent is not included in the communication:
- Restrict such communication to issues directly associated with delivering programming such as advising that a scheduled event is cancelled
- Limit the personal or social content in such communications to what is required to convey the service-related message in a polite, friendly manner. In particular, do not communicate anything that a reasonable observer could view as being of a sexual nature
- Refrain from using any communication to promote unauthorised ‘social’ activity or to arrange unauthorised contact
- Refrain from requesting a child or young person to keep any communication a secret from their parents
- Refrain from communicating with children or young people using Internet chat rooms or similar forums such as social networking sites, game sites or instant messaging
- All our personnel, and the children and young people to whom we deliver our programs, are required to follow our ‘acceptable use’ policy in relation to browsing websites on our organisation’s computers
- Our personnel are required to ensure appropriate monitoring of children and young people when they use our organisation’s electronic communication equipment to ensure that they do not inadvertently place themselves at risk of abuse or exploitation, for example via social networking sites, gaming sites or web searches, or through inappropriate email communication
- Unless expressly permitted, Stand Up does not permit involved personnel to provide gifts, as they can result in unintended and often negative consequences.
- Stand Up prohibits the transport of clients and other Personnel under the age of 18 in personal vehicles unless expressly permitted by the CEO or senior management.
Children are to be transported only with prior authorisation from our CEO and from the child’s parent/guardian. Gaining approval involves providing information about the proposed journey, including:
- the form of transport proposed, such as private car, taxi, self-drive bus, bus with driver, train, plane or boat
- the reason for the journey
- the route to be followed, including any stops or side trips
- details of anyone who will be present during the journey other than our personnel who are involved in delivering our programs.
Photographs of children and young people
Stand Up will at all times portray children in a respectful, appropriate and consensual way. Our guidelines on the use of children’s images are in line with the following:
- A child should always be portrayed in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner;
- Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive;
- Where appropriate, a child and his/her family must always be asked for consent when using their images via the photo consent form provided
- When asking for consent to use the image, details should be given as to how and where this image will be used;
- At large events and forums where the photo consent form may not be obtained by all attendees a verbal disclaimer must be made. This disclaimer should make attendees aware that photos will be taken throughout the event/forum, and if a person should not wish their photo to be used for promotional purposes, to contact the relevant Stand Up staff;
- There should be no identifying information of the child used in the publication of images with their location;
- Local cultural traditions should be assessed regarding restrictions for reproducing personal images;
- Images should be an honest representation of the context and the facts;
- When sending images electronically, file labels should not reveal identifying information;
- All photographers will be screened for their suitability, including police checks where appropriate.
- Personnel are not to put any photos on Facebook or other forms of social media or use them for any commercial/promotional purposes not related to the program
- If you have any photos taken at a Stand Up program or event and wish them to be used, please send them to your manager so we can share these (where permission is granted).
- Stand Up will at all times portray children in a respectful, appropriate and consensual way. Our guidelines on the use of children’s images are in line with the following:
Positive guidance [Discipline]
Stand Up strive to ensure that children and young people participating in our programs are aware of the acceptable limits of their behaviour so that we can provide a positive experience for all participants. There are times when personnel may be required to use appropriate techniques and behaviour management strategies to ensure:
- an effective and positive environment
- the safety and/or wellbeing of children, young people or personnel participating in our programs.
- Personnel must use strategies that are fair, respectful and appropriate to the developmental stage of the children or young people involved.
- The child or young person is to be provided with clear directions and given an opportunity to redirect any misbehaviour in a positive manner.
- Under no circumstances are our personnel to take disciplinary action involving physical punishment or any form of treatment that could reasonably be considered as degrading, cruel, frightening or humiliating.
Use of language and tone of voice
Language and tone of voice used in the presence of children and young people should:
- provide clear direction, boost their confidence, encourage or affirm them
- not be harmful to children – in this respect, avoid language that is:
- discriminatory, racist or sexist
- derogatory, belittling or negative, for example, by calling a child a ‘loser’ or telling them they are ‘too fat’
- intended to threaten or frighten
- profane or sexual.
- Language and tone of voice used in the presence of children and young people should:
Physical contact with children and young people
- Any physical contact with children and young people must be appropriate to the delivery of our programming such as appropriate play during child-care sessions, and the necessary physical contact to supervise children during programming and based on the needs of the child or young person (such as to assist or comfort a distressed young person) rather than on the needs of our personnel.
Under no circumstances should any of our personnel have contact with children or young people participating in our programming that involves touching of
- of genitals;
- of buttocks;
- of the breast area (female children)
- that is other than as part of delivering medical or allied health services would appear to a reasonable observer to have a sexual connotation
- is intended to cause pain or distress to the child or young person – for example corporal punishment
- Under no circumstances should any of our personnel have contact with children or young people participating in our programming that is overly physical – as is, for example, wrestling, horseplay, tickling or other roughhousing
- Under no circumstances should any of our personnel have contact with children or young people participating in our programming that is is unnecessary – as is, for example, assisting with toileting when a child does not require assistance
Under no circumstances should any of our personnel have contact with children or young people participating in our programming that is initiated against the wishes of the child or young person, except if such contact may be necessary to prevent injury to the child/young person or to others, in which case:
- physical restraint should be a last resort
- the level of force used must be appropriate to the specific circumstances, and aimed solely at restraining the child or young person to prevent harm to themselves or others
- the incident must be reported to management as soon as possible.
- Any physical contact initiated by a child or young person that is sexual and/or inappropriate (such as acts of physical aggression) is required to be reported to management as soon as possible, to enable the situation to be managed in the interests of the safety of the child or young person, our personnel and any other participants.
- Under no circumstances is any form of ‘sexual behaviour’ to occur between, with, or in the presence of, children or young people participating in any of our programs. Engaging in sexual behaviour while participating in our service is prohibited even if the young persons involved may be above the legal age of consent.
‘Sexual behaviour’ needs to be interpreted widely, to encompass the entire range of actions that would reasonably be considered to be sexual in nature, including but not limited to:
- ‘non-contact behaviour’, such as flirting, sexual innuendo, inappropriate text messaging, inappropriate photography or exposure to pornography or nudity
- ‘contact behaviour’, such as sexual intercourse, kissing, fondling, sexual penetration or exploiting a child through prostitution
Overnight stays and sleeping arrangements
- Overnight stays are to occur only with the authorisation of the CEO and of the parents/guardians of the children or young people involved.
- Practices and behaviour by our personnel during an overnight stay must be consistent with the practices and behaviour expected during delivery of our programming at other times.
Standards of conduct that must be observed by our personnel during an overnight stay include:
- providing children and young people with privacy when bathing and dressing
- observing appropriate dress standards when children and young people are present – such as no exposure to adult nudity
- not allowing children or young people to be exposed to pornographic material, for example, through movies, television, the Internet or magazines
- not leaving children under the supervision or protection of unauthorised persons such as hotel staff or friends
- not involving sleeping arrangements that may compromise the safety of children and young people such as unsupervised sleeping arrangements, or an adult sleeping in the same bed as a child or young person
- the right of children to contact their parents, or others, if they feel unsafe, uncomfortable or distressed during the stay;
- parents expecting that their children can, if they wish, make contact
Change room arrangements
- Personnel are required to supervise children and young people in change rooms while balancing that requirement with a child or young person’s right to privacy.
- personnel should avoid one-to-one situations with a child or young person in a change room area;
- personnel are not permitted to use the change room area to, for example, undress, while children and young people are present;
- personnel need to ensure adequate supervision in ‘public’ change rooms when they are used;
- personnel need to provide the level of supervision required for preventing abuse by members of the public, adult service users, peer service users, or general misbehaviour, while also respecting a child’s privacy;
- female personnel are not to enter male change rooms and male personnel are not to enter female change rooms.
Witnessing family violence
Family violence is defined as violence between members of a family or extended family or those fulfilling the role of family in a child or young person’s life. Witnessing family violence is a specific form of emotional or psychological abuse. Exposure to family violence places children and young people at increased risk of physical injury and harm and has a significant impact on their wellbeing and development.
Personnel must, regardless of their role or level of responsibility, act to safeguard children from such harm by:
- adopting the practices and behaviour we have set as our standard when carrying out their roles, and
- reporting any abuse or neglect of which they become aware to our management and/or to external authorities responsible for child protection or to police, regardless of whether that abuse is being perpetrated by personnel within our organisation, or by those outside our organisation including those from the child’s family, extended family, their family’s extended network or strangers.
- Personnel must, regardless of their role or level of responsibility, act to safeguard children from such harm by:
Reporting issues, abuse and concerns
Stand Up considers the abuse and exploitation of children to be completely unacceptable. We will take all concerns and reports of child abuse seriously and act on these reports immediately.
It is mandatory for all Personnel to report concerns or allegations of child abuse. These concerns may relate to:
- a child
- a Staff Member involved in the organisation or
- a concern about a child or person/s outside of the organisation’s programs.
It is mandatory to report any of the following to the relevant program Coordinator, Director and/or the CEO
- any disclosure or allegation from a child/community Member or Staff regarding the safety/abuse exploitation of a child
- any observation or concerning behaviour exhibited by a Stand Up Personnel or other relevant stakeholder that breaches the Stand Up code of conduct for working with children
- inappropriate use of the organisation’s photographic equipment or computers including evidence of child pornography
- Staff engaging in suspicious behaviour that could be associated with sexual exploitation or trafficking
- If a child discloses abuse, whatever the outcome, the child must be taken seriously
Personnel must show care and concern for the child/young person by:
- listening carefully;
- If possible obtaining some concrete details such as where the abuse is taking place, school, home, work etc; is it currently occurring or did occur in the past. The name/position of the perpetrator if possible but is not necessary
- not conducting an investigation (beware of asking any leading questions as this may prejudice any subsequent investigation)
- telling the child/young person you believe him or her
- telling the child/young person it is not their fault and he/she is not responsible for the abuse;
- telling the child/young person you are pleased he/she told you, and not to promise to keep any secrets
- If the child or young person requests you not to tell anyone, it is important you seek guidance from the CEO, Programs Director and Program Coordinator to discuss how the child or young person can be supported and the disclosure managed
- Personnel must refrain from indiscriminately discussing the circumstances of the child/young person with others not directly involved.
- It is mandatory for all Personnel to report concerns or allegations of child abuse. These concerns may relate to: