Mandatory Reporting Policy

Policy Rationale

MakerDojo has a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse. MakerDojo must and will comply with the minimum standard for the care, safety and welfare of children as detailed in the Child Safe Standards specified by Ministerial Order No. 870. Underpinning the information and procedures discussed in this policy is the Children, Youth and families Act 2005. All employees and contractors of MakerDojo undertake compulsory annual ‘Mandatory Reporting’ training.

The purpose of this document is to outline the MakerDojo responsibilities and approach to Child Protection Reporting.

• The Policy provides the Service, its Staff, Contractors and Volunteers with an outline of what to do in the event of incidents, disclosures or allegations of child abuse against a student or child in the care of MakerDojo.

• The Policy must be read in conjunction with the Child Safe Environments Policy.

Procedures

The policies and procedures contained in this documents cover both contemporary and historical Child Abuse Matters. The document applies to all Staff, Contractors, Volunteers and all attendees at MakerDojo.

All MakerDojo Staff, Contractors and Volunteers must familiarise themselves with this Policy document and respond appropriately and in accordance with the provisions of the Policy.

All staff are required to complete the Mandatory Reporting eLearning Module each year, as a part of MakerDojo’s child safe training.

MakerDojo recognises that it is essential that the safety, health, welfare and wellbeing of its attendees are safeguarded at all times. Every person working or visiting MakerDojo is responsible for the ongoing care and protection of its attendees.

MakerDojo is committed to ensuring all incidents, disclosures or allegations of Child Abuse are reported immediately to the appropriate authorities and the child’s wellbeing is at the centre of any actions or decisions that ensue.

MakerDojo adheres to the Child Safe Standards and Mandatory reporting legislation. All MakerDojo personnel, either voluntary or paid, who have formed a belief based on reasonable grounds of child abuse are to contact the relevant Child Safe Officer and collectively make a Mandatory Report.

In addition to Mandatory reporting MakerDojo requires all MakerDojo Staff members, contractors and volunteers, whether required by the legislation or not, who have formed a belief on reasonable grounds of any child abuse (sexual, physical, emotional/psychological, neglect, grooming or domestic violence), or who have had an attendee disclose child abuse directly to them or indirectly through a friend, are to report to the MakerDojo Child Safe Officer (Nominated Supervisor or Responsible Person) or another member of the MakerDojo Leadership Team (Directors).

The Child Safe Standards require MakerDojo to have processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse. This procedure is designed to provide guidance on what to do if a child discloses an incident of abuse, or if a parent/carer raises a concern or allegation of abuse.

If a child discloses an incident of abuse to you

• Try and separate them from the other children discreetly and listen to them carefully.

• Let the child use their own words to explain what has occurred.

• Reassure the child that you take what they are saying seriously, and it is not their fault and that they are doing the right thing.

• Explain to them that this information may need to be shared with others, such as with their parent/carer and specific people in MakerDojo.

• Do not make promises to the child such as promising not to tell anyone about the incident, except that you will do your best to keep them safe.

• Do not leave the child in a distressed state. If they seem at ease in your company, stay with them. Take measures to protect the child until the allegation has been resolved.

• Provide them with an Incident Report Form to complete, or complete it together, if you think the child is able to do this.

• As soon as possible after the disclosure, record the information using the child’s own words if this has not already been done, and report the disclosure to a Child Safe Officer (Nominated Supervisor, Responsible Person or Director) and together inform Child First or Child Protection.

• Ensure the disclosure is recorded accurately on an Incident Report Form, and that the record is stored securely in a central file.

If a parent/carer says their child has been abused at MakerDojo or raises a concern

• Explain that MakerDojo has processes to ensure all abuse allegations are taken very seriously.

• Ask about the wellbeing of the child.

• Allow the parent/carer to talk through the incident in their own words.

• Advise the parent/carer that you will take notes during the discussion to capture all details.

• Explain to them the information may need to be repeated to authorities or others, including the relevant Child Safe Officer (Nominated Supervisor, Responsible Person or Director), Child First or Child Protection.

• Do not make promises at this early stage, except that you will do your best to keep the child safe.

• Provide them with an Incident Report Form to complete or complete it together.

• Ask them what action they would like to take and advise them of what the immediate next steps will be.

• As soon as possible report the disclosure to a Child Safe Officer (Nominated Supervisor, Responsible Person or Director) and together inform Child First or Child Protection.

• Ensure the disclosure is recorded accurately on an Incident Report Form, and that the record is stored securely in a central file.

Useful Information

You need to be aware that some people from culturally and/or linguistically and/or intellectually diverse backgrounds may face barriers in reporting allegations of abuse. For example, people from some cultures may experience anxiety when talking with police and communicating in English may be a barrier for some. You need to be sensitive to these issues and meet people’s needs where possible, such as having an interpreter present (who could be a friend or family member).

If an allegation of abuse involves an Aboriginal child, you will need to ensure a culturally appropriate response. A way to help ensure this could include engaging with parents of Aboriginal children, local Aboriginal communities or an Aboriginal community controlled organisation to review policies and procedures.

Some children with a disability may experience barriers disclosing an incident. For example, children with hearing or cognitive impairments may need support to help them explain the incident, including through sign language interpreters.

If a staff member believes a child is at risk of abuse/neglect they are to contact the relevant Child Safe Officer (HOS or DP) and collectively make the following call:

1. During office hours contact CHILD FIRST 1300 762 125 (Boorondara) for wellbeing/neglect issues.

2. Contact CHILD PROTECTION 1300 360 391 for a child in immediate danger of abuse or significant harm.

Circumstances under which a mandated reporter must make a report

While the child safe standards focus on organisations, every adult who reasonably believes that a child has been abused, whether in their organisation or not, has an obligation to report that belief to authorities.

Fulfilling the roles and responsibilities contained in this procedure does not displace or discharge any other obligations that arise if a person reasonably believes that a child is at risk of child abuse.

The failure to disclose criminal offence requires all adults (aged 18 and over) who hold a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed in Victoria by an adult against a child under 16 to disclose that information to police (unless they have a reasonable excuse not to, for example because they fear for their safety or the safety of another).

While failure to disclose only covers child sexual abuse, all adults should report other forms of child abuse to authorities. Failure to disclose does not change mandatory reporting responsibilities.

Mandatory reporters (doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers (including early childhood teachers), school counsellors, Principals and police and religious leaders) must report to child protection if they believe on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection from physical injury or sexual abuse.

The failure to protect criminal offence (commenced on 1 July 2015) applies where there is a substantial risk that a child under the age of 16 under the care, supervision or authority of a relevant organisation will become a victim of a sexual offence committed by an adult associated with that organisation. A person in a position of authority in the organisation will commit the offence if they know of the risk of abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently failed to do so.

Step-by-step guide to making a report to Child Protection or Child FIRST

If a staff member believes a child is at risk of abuse/neglect they are to contact the relevant Child Safe Officer and collectively make the following call:

1. During office hours contact CHILD FIRST 1300 762 125 (Boorondara) for wellbeing/neglect issues.

2. Contact CHILD PROTECTION 1300 360 391 for a child in immediate danger of abuse or significant harm.

References
  • ACECQA National Quality Framework Resource Kit (2012)  
  • Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice.  
  • Quality Area 2 – Children’s Health and Safety  
  • Quality Area 7 – Leadership and Service Management (Standard: 7.2; Elements: 7.3.3, 7.3.4, 7.3.5) 
  • Education and Care Services National Law Act (2010), S 168, S 174  
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations (2011), R 173, R 176 
Version control date: March 2021 | To be reviewed: December 2021