Amberley O.S.H.C.

Children are our future, We are dedicated to their success!

2.10 Reporting Guidelines and Directions for Handling Disclosures and Suspicions of Harm

Amberley OSHC actively works to provide all children with a safe and suitable environment.  In the event that a child or relative discloses information to an adult, Amberley OSHC shall implement the following procedures to ensure that this information is managed appropriately and that all suspicions of harm are reported in accordance with relevant legislative requirements.

Harm is defined under the Child Protection Act 1999 as ‘any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing’.  For harm to be significant, the detrimental effect on the child’s wellbeing must be substantial or serious, more than transitory and must be demonstrable in the child’s presentation, functioning or behaviour.

Harm may be categorised in the following types:

  • Physical abuse, for example, beating, shaking, burning, biting, causing bruise or fractures by inappropriate discipline, giving children alcohol, drugs or inappropriate medication;
  • Emotional or psychological abuse, for example, constant yelling, insults, swearing, criticism, bullying, not giving children positive support and encouragement;
  • Neglect, for example, not giving children sufficient food, clothing, enough sleep, hygiene, medical care, leaving children alone or children missing school; and
  • Sexual abuse or exploitation, for example, sexual jokes or touching and exposing children to pornography.

Relevant Laws and other Provisions

The laws and other provisions affecting this policy include:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act, 2010 and Regulations 2011
  • Family and Child Commission Act 2014
  • Child Protection Act 1999 and Regulations 2000
  • NQS Area: 2.3.4; 4.2.1; 5.2.3; 6.2.2; 6.3.1; 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.5; 7.3.
  • Policies; 2.1 – Respect for Children, 2.5 – Reporting of Child Abuse, 2.8 – Anti-bullying, 3.10 – Observational Recording, 8.10 – Employee Orientation and Induction, 9.3 – Communication with Families, 9.5 – Complaints Handling.

Procedures

Management will ensure that educators receive appropriate child protection training, in particular ensuring that all educators are aware of the existence and application of the current child protection law and any obligations they may have under that law.

 

Management will ensure that educators receive information and support on how to handle situations where information is disclosed to them by a child or by a member of the child’s family or other person.

For educators – If you have suspicions that a child is being abused, an appropriate response should include the following:

  • Have access to a copy of your organisation’s internal policy and be knowledgeable about how to respond appropriately;
  • Be alert to any warning signs that may indicate the child is being abused;
  • Observe the child and make written notes as soon as you begin to have concerns. Pay attention to body cues such as changes in the child’s behaviour, ideas, feelings and the words they use;
  • Have gentle, non-judgmental discussions with the child. Expressing your concern that the child looks sad or unwell can result in disclosures.  Do not pressure the child to respond and do not ask leading questions that put words into a child’s mouth’
  • Assure the child they can come and talk to you when they need to, and listen carefully to a child when he/she does;
  • Promptly advise the person nominated by your organisation of your concerns;
  • Seek expert advice, or make a report by ringing the Department of Child Safety or the Queensland Police Service.

Educators shall report such information or suspicions of harm in a confidential manner to the Nominated Supervisor, or an executive member of the management committee.

The Nominated Supervisor, or executive member of management shall take the required action following a disclosure or suspicion of harm:

  • Ensure that the disclosure/suspicion of harm is documented by the educator involved as soon as possible;
  • Report to the Department of Child Safety, Queensland Police Services and/or the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care to formally lodge the disclosure using the appropriate reporting mechanisms;
  • If appropriate, and upon the seeking of professional advice, Amberley OSHC may arrange a meeting with the family to discuss the nature of the disclosure or allegation. Such a meeting may include the involvement of appropriate support persons.

The Department of Child Safety may be contacted by any member of staff to obtain professional advice in regard to reporting the disclosure.

The educator receiving the disclosure may be required to speak with the Queensland Police Services as part of their investigations.  Under section 22 of the Child Protection Act 1999, a person who reports suspected child abuse is protected from civil or criminal legal actions and is not considered to have broken any code of conduct or ethics.

Reviewed 9 February 2015, Updated 12 May 2015


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