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CHILD PROTECTION

EFFECTIVE: 1 JANUARY 2005


Uncontrolled when printed 2 Effective: 1 January 2005

CONTENTS

1 POLICY.................................................................................................................................3
2 BACKGROUND ....................................................................................................................3
2.1 RATIONALE ..............................................................................................................3
2.2 GENERAL .................................................................................................................3
2.3 PRINCIPLES .............................................................................................................3
2.4 DEFINITIONS............................................................................................................4
2.4.1 CHILD PROTECTION CONCERN ................................................................4
2.4.2 MALTREATMENT .........................................................................................4
2.4.3 STAFF ...........................................................................................................4
3 RELEVANT LEGISLATION OR AUTHORITY ......................................................................4
3.1 RELEVANT GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION ............................................................4
3.2 RELEVANT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICIES AND
PROCEDURES .........................................................................................................5
3.3 OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS...............................................................5
4 PROCEDURES ....................................................................................................................5
4.1 GENERAL .................................................................................................................5
4.2 REPORTING CHILD MALTREATMENT...................................................................6
4.3 CONFIDENTIALITY ..................................................................................................7
4.4 RECORD KEEPING..................................................................................................7
4.5 CASE MANAGEMENT..............................................................................................7
4.6 UNIVERSAL PROMOTION AND PREVENTION......................................................7
4.6.1 LEARNING AND TEACHING PROGRAMS ..................................................7
4.6.2 PREVENTION PROGRAMS PROVIDED BY OTHER DEPARTMENTS OR
NON-GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ................................................................8
5 RESPONSIBILITIES .............................................................................................................8
5.1 PRINCIPALS .............................................................................................................8
5.2 DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES IN SCHOOLS ...........................................................8
5.3 DISTRICT OFFICE STAFF .......................................................................................9
5.4 DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (DCD) ..................................9
5.5 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE SERVICE..........................................................9
5.6 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICE ...................................9
APPENDIX A INDICATORS OF CHILD MALTREATMENT ....................................................10
APPENDIX B DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (DCD) ...........................12
APPENDIX C RESPONDING TO CHILD DISCLOSURES OF MALTREATMENT..................15
APPENDIX D THE HEALTH PROMOTING SCHOOLS FRAMEWORK..................................17
APPENDIX E PATHWAYS TO SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT .......................18
APPENDIX F DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE ..............................................................20
APPENDIX G SCHOOL RECORDING PROFORMA FOR DISCLOSURES AND
OBSERVATIONS OF CHILD MALTREATMENT ..............................................22
APPENDIX H SCHOOL REPORTING PROFORMA: CHILD MALTREATMENT ....................23

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 3 Effective: 1 January 2005

1 POLICY
Everyone working in a school is responsible for the care and protection of the
children and reporting information about child maltreatment concerns such as
neglect or physical, sexual and emotional maltreatment.

2 BACKGROUND

2.1 RATIONALE

The Department of Education and Training (the Department) is committed to the


care, safety and protection of all children attending government schools. The
responsibility of the Department extends beyond academic success to the
intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of children and provision of
caring and supportive learning environments in all schools.

Staff, given their close interactions with school children, play an important role in the
detection of child maltreatment and the provision of support and assistance to
children who are maltreated or may be the subject of maltreatment.

Child protection in schools is a shared community responsibility. This policy


recognises that the best interests of children may be met by collaborating with or
engaging the expertise of other government departments or non-government
agencies.

2.2 GENERAL

The Department employs staff who model behaviours that uphold the dignity and
safety of all children and expects staff to take all reasonable actions to ensure the
safety and protection of children whilst attending school and during all school
activities, on and off the school site.

The Department recognises that there are children with increased vulnerability to
maltreatment and is committed to their care and protection.

The Department recognises that learning and teaching programs must provide
opportunities for children to develop social, emotional and personal resilience skills.

The Department is supportive of schools partnering with other government


departments or non-government agencies to advise and/or provide universal child
protection prevention programs to promote all children’s personal resilience and
development of self-protective behaviours.

This document explains the actions to be taken by staff to protect children in


circumstances where maltreatment is suspected or when allegations of child
maltreatment are made against staff, children or other people in the community.

2.3 PRINCIPLES

This policy is based on sound principles that:

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 4 Effective: 1 January 2005

z in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a
primary consideration (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
Article 3, 1990); and
z in all Western Australian public schools, safe and secure learning
environments are to be provided for all children.

2.4 DEFINITIONS

2.4.1 CHILD PROTECTION CONCERN

A child protection concern may arise from any action or inaction which is inconsistent
with the care and protection of a child. This may include physical, emotional or
sexual abuse or neglect of a child. It may involve repeated or persistent
maltreatment, or it may arise from a single incident. It may be observed evidence of
risk or indicators, reports of maltreatment by a person without parental responsibility
for the child and/or a disclosure of information provided directly by a child or
parent/carer that describes or alleges maltreatment.

2.4.2 MALTREATMENT

Maltreatment refers to when a child or young person has been subjected to physical,
sexual, emotional or psychological abuse and/or neglect, the severity and/or
persistence of which has resulted in or is likely to result in significant harm. (Statutory
Child Protection, Department for Community Development, 2004, p 3).

A child may be maltreated by a parent/carer, another adult person or another child


who may or may not be older.

2.4.3 STAFF

Staff are defined as persons employed by the Director General.

Other persons who are authorised by the school principal to work with children in
schools must conform to the Department’s Child Protection policy. Such persons
may include School Health Nurses, School Chaplains or Youth Workers.

3 RELEVANT LEGISLATION OR AUTHORITY

3.1 RELEVANT GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION

This policy, procedures and guidelines are consistent with relevant sections of the
following legislation:
Child Welfare Act 1947
Children and Community Development Act 2004
Community Services Act 1972
Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003
Criminal Code Act 1913
Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Equal Opportunity Act 1984
Public Sector Management Act 1994

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 5 Effective: 1 January 2005

School Education Act 1999

3.2 RELEVANT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICIES AND


PROCEDURES
Alternative Education Programs
Behaviour Management in Schools
Discipline Policy, Procedures and Guidelines
Disputes and Complaints
Duty of Care for Students
Emergency Management
Excursions: Off School Site Activities
Outdoor Education and Recreation Activities: Section 19: Water-based
activities
Records Management Manual for School, College and Campus Records
[Including the Retention and Disposal Schedules to comply with the Library
Board of Western Act 1951-1983]
Sexual Harassment Information for Secondary Students
Sexual Harassment Resolution for Employees and Students
Staff Conduct
Visitors on School Premises
Workplace Learning Procedures and Guidelines

3.3 OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS


Guidelines for the Clinical Management of Child Abuse and Neglect 1993, WA
Department of Health
Interagency Collaborative Framework for Protecting Children October 2003
Reciprocal Child Protection Procedures 2002, WA Department for Community
Development
Statutory Child Protection 2004, WA Department for Community Development

4 PROCEDURES

4.1 GENERAL

All staff are responsible for acquiring the appropriate knowledge and understandings
about child protection and respond appropriately to concerns of child maltreatment.

All public schools take reasonable actions to establish and maintain safe learning
environments for all children. Such actions may involve assistance from district staff
or other departments or non-government agencies.

The Department recognises that all education and training institutions such as
TAFEWA Colleges and structured workplace learning environments may share
responsibility with schools to care and protect children. These institutions or
workplaces should be informed by the school staff about the need to report any
concerns of child maltreatment.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 6 Effective: 1 January 2005

Harassment and bullying behaviour between students is usually dealt with under the
Department’s Behaviour Management in Schools policy. In some instances it may
be considered that the behaviour in question is indicative of a child protection issue
and reporting procedures must be followed.

To reduce the risk of suicidal and self harming children, decisive action must be
taken by district or school staff regarding any concerns they have about a child and
as early as possible.

Sexual behaviour between children may be an indicator of maltreatment and


therefore considered to be child protection issue. Sexual behaviour between children
may also involve employee duty of care responsibilities. The adequacy of duty of
care provision will be considered and it may be appropriate to notify the Complaints
Management Unit (CMU). These issues may also be dealt with by the school
through the Department’s Behaviour Management in Schools policy.

4.2 REPORTING CHILD MALTREATMENT

Everyone working in a school needs to be able to recognise the risk factors and
indicators of child maltreatment (refer to Appendix 1) to identify children who may be
at risk and communicate these to the principal, either verbally or in writing. The
principal must report the concerns as appropriate to the Department for Community
Development (DCD) or the Western Australian Police Service (police).

If the concern relates to the conduct of a person other than a Department employee,
the principal must report the concern to DCD. In addition if the concern relates to
possible criminal conduct, the matter must be reported to the police.

If the concern relates to the conduct of a Department employee the principal must
report the matter to DCD and CMU.

If the concern relates to the conduct of the principal, it must be reported to the
District Director (DD) who assumes the actions and responsibilities of a principal as
described in these procedures.

Student disclosures must be responded to appropriately by staff and the child


supported. If a disclosure from a student is ignored or dismissed the student
continues to be placed at risk.

Written records of all concerns of maltreatment and disclosures that form the basis of
a maltreatment report must be securely stored by the principal. This information
must be provided to DCD and the police upon request (refer to Appendix 7).

The role of school staff is not investigative in matters of child maltreatment. Staff
must report concerns to the principal who will action them appropriately. Staff may
seek advice from professional colleagues including student services to clarify
concerns and determine ongoing support for a child. Such consultation must be
documented.

In order to avoid interfering with any investigative process initiated by DCD or the
police, the principal (DD) must seek advice from DCD or the police as is appropriate
prior to informing the parent /carer of a concern of maltreatment.

Female Genital Mutilation is an illegal procedure in Western Australia and must be


reported to DCD and the police.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 7 Effective: 1 January 2005

4.3 CONFIDENTIALITY

While staff should be conscious of the requirements for confidentiality they should
not provide undertakings which are inconsistent with their reporting obligations under
this policy. Staff must communicate concerns of child maltreatment to the principal.
To the extent possible children should be informed of the obligations of reporting in
this policy. Whenever possible the most likely responses to these actions should
also be described.

Where there is suspected or alleged maltreatment or misconduct, staff may not


disclose or make use of the information in a manner that breaches confidentiality
under Section 242 of the School Education Act 1999.

4.4 RECORD KEEPING

Staff must document concerns about child maltreatment and provide these to the
principal for safekeeping. The record should be factual about observable events and
not an opinion, and should include the dates and times of observations or
disclosures with exact or as close to exact wording of statements made by a child.

Principals must maintain written records of all communication with DCD or the police
and subsequent actions.

4.5 CASE MANAGEMENT

Case management is collaborative planning between school staff and key


stakeholders to identify, monitor, assess and report child maltreatment.

The parents/carers, the child, student services, education assistants, Aboriginal


Education Officers, DCD, Department of Health, the police and Department of
Justice may be involved.

4.6 UNIVERSAL PROMOTION AND PREVENTION

Universal promotion of child protection issues and prevention of child maltreatment is


a whole of government policy initiative and is applicable across all government
departments in Western Australia.

4.6.1 LEARNING AND TEACHING PROGRAMS

To complement implementation of the learning outcomes and core shared values in


the Curriculum Framework for Kindergarten to Year 12 Education in Western
Australia, children must be provided with learning opportunities to develop the
knowledge, skills and understandings for a healthy life.

Improved social skills, emotional skills, sex education and self-protective behaviours
may empower children to act responsibly and minimise or avoid personal
harassment and maltreatment.

These life skills should be promoted across the curriculum and in all school activities
(refer to Appendices 4 and 5).

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 8 Effective: 1 January 2005

4.6.2 PREVENTION PROGRAMS PROVIDED BY OTHER DEPARTMENTS OR NON-


GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

The principal may directly collaborate with DCD, the Family and Domestic Violence
unit, police, Departments of Health and Justice or non-government agencies to
assist with the delivery of universal prevention programs, using interagency protocols
and advice from district student services.

Community Health Staff may advise school staff about the mental and physical
health issues associated with maltreatment, abuse and harm, and information about
universal promotion and prevention programs.

5 RESPONSIBILITIES
Everyone working in a school must ensure that they:
z have the appropriate professional knowledge and understandings of child
maltreatment through completion of the Department’s Child Protection
Professional Learning Program;
z understand their responsibilities according to the Department’s Child Protection
policy and procedures;
z understand their obligations according to the School Education Act 1999 and
all other relevant legislation relating to the care and protection of children
during all school activities; and
z provide the necessary documentation to show that they are fit and proper
persons to work with children.

5.1 PRINCIPALS

In addition to their reporting responsibilities principals must:


z ensure that everyone working in the school provides the necessary
documentation required by the Department to show that they are fit and proper
persons to work with children (e.g. Police Records, National Check of
Employment);
z implement the Department’s Child Protection policy and procedures
appropriately;
z liaise with DCD and/or the police to ensure the best outcome for a child who
has been maltreated and plan for the child’s continuing needs in the school
environment;
z maintain written records of all communication with DCD and/or the police and
the subsequent actions. The principal should fax all child maltreatment reports
to DCD. This record may be required at a later time if the matter is actioned by
DCD or the police; and
z draw on the resources and expertise of other departments, non-government
agencies or the district education office to support children in need of care and
protection and provide preventative educational programs for all children.

5.2 DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES IN SCHOOLS

In addition to communicating concerns to their school principal, Departmental


employees must:
z support the principal in fulfilling his/her responsibilities as they relate to the
Department’s Child Protection policy and procedures; and
Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 9 Effective: 1 January 2005

z implement the Department’s Child Protection policy and procedures as it


applies to them.

5.3 DISTRICT OFFICE STAFF

District staff have a responsibility to assist and support school principals and staff to
implement this policy. This assistance and support may involve provision of
professional learning programs or training, information about early intervention or
universal prevention programs or collaboration with non-government agencies and
other departments. District staff may negotiate provision of universal prevention
programs for schools. The Department recommends the use of agreed protocols to
guide interdepartmental service delivery, particularly in school communities with high
social disadvantage, and/or where child protection issues need to balance with
effective practices within culturally diverse communities.

5.4 DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (DCD)

Protection of children is DCD’s legal mandate. If a concern of child maltreatment is


communicated to the principal by an employee or someone working in the school,
the principal must report the matter to DCD. The decision to progress the matter
further is the responsibility of DCD.

5.5 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE SERVICE

If a criminal offence is suspected or has occurred or if the report of child


maltreatment involves a person who is not a parent/carer for the child, the school
principal must report the matter to the police. The police liaise with the CMU where
a person suspected of a criminal offence is an employee of the Department.

The Child Abuse Unit, a division of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB),
investigates child maltreatment in the metropolitan area including sexual assault. In
country areas the local CIB is responsible for investigating offences against a child,
including sexual assault and can refer cases to the Child Abuse Unit.

5.6 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICE

Department of Health staff support schools by providing the School Health Service.
These staff work in accordance with the Department of Education and Training’s
Child Protection policy and can assist school staff with responding to student
disclosures or strong concerns of maltreatment. They may advise school staff about
the mental and physical health issues associated with maltreatment, abuse and
harm and information about universal promotion and prevention programs. Whilst
they are accountable to their Department of Health line managers, if a student
discloses or there are significant concerns that student maltreatment has occurred,
then the school principal must be informed of the actions that will be taken by the
Department of Health staff.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 10 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX A INDICATORS OF CHILD MALTREATMENT


TYPES OF MALTREATMENT

Children who are in need of care and protection may show indicators of harm and
maltreatment in their school environment. There are generally considered to be four
types of harm and maltreatment. The following descriptions may assist staff who are
concerned about a child in their care:
z Emotional maltreatment is defined as psychologically or emotionally abusive
behaviour which profoundly damages a child’s confidence and self esteem
resulting in sustained emotional harm, emotional deprivation or trauma,
disturbed behaviour or the impairment of development.
z Neglect is defined as the failure to provide the basic physical and emotional
conditions that are essential for healthy development. It includes a child not
receiving food, shelter, medical attention or supervision to such an extent that
development is likely to be significantly impaired or injury may occur.
z Physical maltreatment is defined as persistent and/or severe assault, non-
accidental injury or physical harm of a child and includes the deliberate
deprivation of a child’s basic needs.
z Sexual maltreatment is defined as exposing or subjecting a child to sexual
activity, behaviour or threat that is inappropriate to the developmental level or
age of the child and/or is an illegal activity.

VULNERABILITY

Psychological stress and mental illness, substance abuse, cruelty, disability and
domestic violence within families are strongly associated with child maltreatment.
Children in these situations may be more vulnerable to maltreatment due to:
z significant family stress or violence;
z limited communication skills;
z different family or cultural values from mainstream societal values;
z physically and/or emotionally less able to protect themselves;
z unable to understand inappropriate sexual behaviour or maltreatment risk
actors;
z maybe greater dependence on parents/carers for basic self-help needs; or
z maybe more compliant or adult centred.

INDICATORS

Any of these indicators may suggest that a child is in need of care and protection or
being maltreated. The following list of indicators is not exhaustive, nor are the
examples listed necessarily exclusive to a single type of maltreatment. Indicators
should be considered in the context of the child’s age, capabilities, medical and
developmental history.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 11 Effective: 1 January 2005

INDICATORS
EMOTIONAL depression attempted suicide
MALTREATMENT eating disorders (anorexia or excessively compliant or passive
bulimia) behaviour
lethargy or fatigue excessive shyness or withdrawal
symptoms of stress low self-esteem
evidence of drug abuse or fire setting
dependence truancy or school avoidance
wetting, soiling, smearing deliberate harming of animals
psychosomatic complaints poor peer relationships
aggressive or delinquent disclosure directly to an adult or
behaviour indirectly to a friend or adult
NEGLECT abandonment falling asleep in school
poor hygiene poor school attendance or
lack of adequate or suitable alternatively always attends
clothing school, even when sick
inadequate nutrition poor academic performance
lack of medical or dental care steals or begs for food or eats
constant fatigue food from bins
development delays dull, apathetic appearance
untreated sore, boils or lice engages in vandalism
lack of adequate supervision early arrival at school or reluctant
engages in sexual to leave
misconduct disclosure directly to an adult or
uses drugs or alcohol indirectly to a friend or adult
PHYSICAL bruises missing or loosened teeth
MALTREATMENT burns self-mutilation
hair missing in tufts welts
lacerations and abrasions disclosure of abuse directly to an
(especially to the eyes, lips, adult or indirectly to a friend or
gums and mouth) an adult
disclosure directly to an adult or
indirectly to a friend or adult
SEXUAL bruises or bleeding from inappropriate interest in sexual
MALTREATMENT external genitalia, vagina or matters
anal regions inappropriate sexual behaviour
blood stained underwear such as public disrobing or public
pregnancy or fear of masturbation
pregnancy regression to infantile
signs of pain, itching or behaviour
discomfort in the genital area excessive attention getting,
urinary tract infections aggression or clingy behaviour
disclosure of involvement in recurrent physical complaints or
sexual activity directly to an self-mutilation
adult, indirectly to a friend or depression, withdrawal into
in a disguised way; e.g. ‘I fantasy, excessive masturbation
know a person who……’ or suicidal pre-occupation
inappropriate expressions of disclosure directly to an adult or
affection indirectly to a friend or adult

Table 1: Indicators

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 12 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX B DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (DCD)


DCD AND SCHOOLS

School staff are essential collaborative partners with DCD in supporting the child and
maintaining positive relationships with the child’s family. When DCD receives a
school referral they may respond in two ways; either investigating the allegation or
offering family support to enhance parental capacity. Principals are encouraged to
request that DCD officers advise them directly when the referral or report is received
in order to avoid unnecessary worry or anxiety by school staff involved. School
principals and Department employees should be aware that reporting child
maltreatment to DCD does not necessarily mean that a child will be removed from
the parent/carer, or made a ward

The school’s role is not investigatory with regard to child maltreatment issues. The
school does not need to ascertain that the child has been harmed, that is DCD’s
responsibility. Investigating the circumstances leading to maltreatment; who is
responsible and what needs to happen to make sure the child is safe are likely DCD
responses.

Upon request, schools must provide appropriate and detailed written information to
support DCD responses. DCD can support schools to develop and implement
prevention and intervention programs to enhance child safety, health and wellbeing,
including self-protective behaviours. Regional Domestic and Family Violence
committees, established through DCD, can provide children services and schools
with ongoing support and guidance (refer to Appendix 2).

DCD FUNCTIONS

DCD integrates the functions of the former Family and Children's Services, Family &
Children's Policy Office, Office of Seniors Interests, Women's Policy Office and
Office of Youth Affairs.

DCD LEGISLATIVE POWERS

The Children and Community Services Act 2004 was assented to in October 2004
and it is expected to be proclaimed during 2006. Until that time, the Department will
continue to operate under existing legislation (see below).

The Children and Community Services Act 2004:


z confers functions in relation to the provision of social services, the provision of
financial and other assistance, and other matters concerning the wellbeing of
children, other individuals, families and communities;
z replaces outdated legislation (Child Welfare Act 1947; Community Services Act
1972; Welfare and Assistance Act 1961);
z improves the mechanisms for the protection of children enabling Western
Australia to be in line with contemporary practices;
z increases the accountability and transparency of department processes in
relation to the protection of children;
z improves the regulation of child care services to better address the emerging
trend for large corporations to enter the child care services industry; and
z modernises Western Australia’s legislation relating to the employment of
children.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 13 Effective: 1 January 2005

DCD’s legislative powers include:


a) Apprehension of children in need of care and protection

The Child Welfare Act 1947 empowers DCD and the police to take action to
ensure the immediate wellbeing and safety of children and young people
suspected to be in need of care and protection, and to apprehend children
without warrant when it is believed that they are in need of care and protection.
b) Interviewing the child
{ DCD has the authority under the Child Welfare Act 1947 to interview a
child at school before contact is made with the parents/carers.
{ DCD must advise the principal of their intention to interview a child in the
school.
{ The principal must request an explanation of the reason why the
interview is to be conducted at the school.
{ The principal must sight the DCD officer’s identification.
{ If such an interview is to take place on school premises without the
parents/carers knowledge then the principal must provide the child with
the option of having support at the interview from a staff member with
whom he/she feels comfortable.
c) Removal of children from the school
{ DCD officers may remove a child from the school if they have the
permission of the parents/carers or if they have apprehended the child.
{ Principals must satisfy themselves that these conditions have been met
before allowing the removal of a child from school.
{ Verbal communication is adequate but principals must document the
conversation and details of the DCD officers.
d) Medical examination
{ DCD may require that a medical examination occur as soon as possible
so that bruising, marking and other symptoms can be recorded for future
reference.
{ If parent/carer permission has not been obtained for the medical
examination, DCD must apprehend the child.

REGIONAL COMMITTEES

REGIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COMMITTEES

There are 17 Regional Domestic Violence Committees in Western Australia


(RDVCs).

The role of the RDVCs is to promote:


z supportive networks among agencies providing domestic violence services;
z collaboration and coordination between service providers;
z community education in respect to family and domestic violence; and
z ensuring the safety of women and children escaping domestic violence.

They operate in the following regions: Armadale, Central Metropolitan, Eastern


Region, Fremantle, Geraldton, Goldfields, Great Southern, Joondalup and Districts,
Kimberley, Mirrabooka, Narrogin, Peel, Perth West, Pilbara, Rockingham/Kwinana,
the South West and the Wheatbelt.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 14 Effective: 1 January 2005

You may find further information on the Department for Community Development’s
website:

http://familyanddomesticviolence.communitydevelopment.wa.gov.au

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 15 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX C RESPONDING TO CHILD DISCLOSURES OF MALTREATMENT


Staff must be aware of the immediate needs of children making disclosures and
respond accordingly. It is not easy for children to disclose maltreatment and they will
usually only do so with great hesitation. They may hint or tell only part of the story to
gauge the staff member’s reaction before disclosing more fully. They may have
been coerced, bribed or threatened into secrecy. They may be very fearful of being
blamed; of other people’s reactions and of the consequences disclosure will have for
everyone involved. Children are likely to feel guilt because the maltreatment
occurred, because they told another person before telling a parent/carer or because
of dobbing in the parent/carer or friend. Conversely, children may feel relieved and
hopeful that the maltreatment will stop.

Staff are advised to:


z Use protective interrupting if children begin to disclose in class or in a public
area.
{ Acknowledge that you have heard them and stop them from disclosing
any further;
{ Be supportive and gently indicate that they might tell you about it in a
more private situation; and
{ Quietly arrange to see them as soon as possible, in a situation away from
other children.
z Listen attentively to children in a private location within the school whenever
possible;
z Be supportive, understanding and empathic with children;
z Acknowledge that it is difficult to talk about such things;
z Try to identify children’s fears;
z Let children tell the event in their own words, accept what is said, only the
minimum of information is required;
z Reassure children that it is right to tell, that they are believed and that they are
not to blame;
z Be calm and non-judgmental;
z Establish clear limits on confidentiality by telling children that a report will be
made to a person who will be able to provide help and protection;
z Allow children the option of support during any interview on school site without
the parent/carers knowledge, and reassure them of the availability of
continuing support;
z Document the disclosure, subsequent discussion and actions;
z Explain what will happen next; and
z Try to stay with children until necessary steps have been taken to ensure their
safety and support.

School staff must be mindful that they do not:


z Push for details or conduct an investigation as other agencies have this
responsibility;
z Express judgement or blame of the child, perpetrator or family;
z Get angry, upset or show shock;
z Put words in children’s mouths or interrogate as this could jeopardise the
interviewing process of DCD and police;
z Promise not to tell when there are clear limits on confidentiality;
z Give a lecture about right and wrong;
z Say forget it or you’ll get over it or other such minimalising statements;
Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 16 Effective: 1 January 2005

z Give excessive pity; or


z Engage in general staffroom discussion about the disclosure.

Staff must be aware that a disclosure can arouse for themselves strong feelings of
shock, anger and helplessness. It is important to control these feelings; they can be
worked through after the disclosure. Support is available to Department employees
through student services or counselling may be arranged through the employee
assistance program.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 17 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX D THE HEALTH PROMOTING SCHOOLS FRAMEWORK


The Health Promoting Schools Framework was developed by the World Health
Organisation in recognition of the vital role that schools can play in promoting health,
from both a short term perspective (i.e. the children in their schools) and long term
perspective (i.e. positive effects on society).

A health promoting school is characterised as a school that is constantly


strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.

Curriculum, Teaching Organisation, Ethos &


& Learning Environment

Partnerships &
Service

Figure 1: The Health Promoting Schools Framework

The Health Promoting Schools Framework consists of three interconnected domains:


z Curriculum, teaching and learning: includes content, pedagogy, resources
and outcomes.
z School organisation, ethos and environment: focuses on school culture,
attitudes and values, policies and practices, extracurricular activities and the
social and physical environment.
z Partnerships and services: concerned with the relationships between
school, home and the community.

The diagram recognises the importance of schools, yet recognises that schools
cannot “do it alone”.

CONNECTION TO THE WA CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK

The Curriculum Framework for Kindergarten to Year 12 Education in Western


Australia values a holistic approach to education. The three interconnecting
domains of the Health Promoting Schools Framework are reflected in the seven
principles that underpin the Curriculum Framework.

Contact your district education office for further information regarding the Health
Promoting Schools Framework or to obtain copies of Pathways to Health and
Wellbeing in Schools: A Focus Paper.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 18 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX E PATHWAYS TO SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT


The Department’s Pathways to Social and Emotional Development information
resource strengthens teacher understandings of the relationship between a child’s
social and emotional development and their learning. The resource provides
information about the key elements of social and emotional development across the
phases of schooling. It will assist schools to implement a range of key Departmental
initiatives and programs in the areas of curriculum and child wellbeing.

KEY THEMES

There are four key themes that frame a child’s social and emotional development:
z Attachment and connectedness;
z Emotional regulation;
z Autonomy and identity; and
z Values and attitudes.

The resource assists children to develop:


z Positive health and wellbeing;
z Optimal participation in learning;
z Successful life long learning; and
z Emotional literacy skills.

SUCCESSFUL LIFE-LONG LEARNING

Characteristics of life-long learners include planning and organising and working with
others, confidence in oneself as a learner, self-regulation and curiosity. These
develop as orientations throughout childhood and are fully encompassed in the key
themes of social and emotional development.

EMOTIONAL LITERACY

Emotional literacy provides a foundation for promoting successful social interaction


with others. Researchers are contributing to a growing understanding of how it
develops, what inhibits development and what can be done to strengthen children’s
emotional understandings and competencies.

Promotion of emotional literacy builds resilience, prosocial behaviours, readiness for


learning and self-efficacy.

Emotional literacy can be developed. Children can demonstrate sophisticated,


abstract understandings and skills at relatively young ages when given explicit
learning experiences. Emotional literacy contributes to increased ability to tolerate
and manage frustration, effective social interaction and conflict resolution. It builds
empathy, self-regulation and reduces behaviour, conduct and social difficulties.

SPECIFIC INTERVENTION PROGRAMS

There are a number of recognised evidence based programs in schools that nurture
child’s social and emotional development, including MindMatters, Aussie Optimism,
PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies), Happy Kids, Resourceful
Adolescent Program, Friendly Kids Friendly Classrooms and Roots of Empathy.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 19 Effective: 1 January 2005

Contact your district education office for further information regarding the Pathways
to Social and Emotional Development resource.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 20 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX F DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE


DEFINITION: Domestic violence is behaviour which results in physical, sexual
and/or psychological damage, forced social isolation, economic deprivation, or
behaviour which causes the victim to live in fear. (Best Practice Model For The
Provision Of Programs For Victims Of Domestic Violence In Western Australia,
2000).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have generally indicated they prefer to
use the term 'family violence' as it describes a matrix of harmful, violent and
aggressive behaviours. The concept is considered to be more reflective of an
Indigenous worldview of community and family healing. However, the use of this
term should not obscure the fact that Indigenous women and children bear the brunt
of family violence.

Family and domestic violence is an issue that affects the whole community and
demands a whole of community response in developing initiatives and programs.
The safety and well being of those experiencing family and domestic violence must
be the first priority for any response. Enhancing a non-offending parent/carer's
safety enhances the child's safety. Responses must reflect the cultural and diverse
needs of individuals and communities. Perpetrators of family and domestic violence
must be held responsible for their behaviour and acts that constitute a criminal
offence must be dealt with accordingly.

IMPACTS ON CHILDREN

Children have often been described as the silent victims of domestic violence. They
are in a position of great risk of suffering by being exposed to domestic violence.
Exposure to domestic violence encompasses a range of children's experiences that
go beyond merely seeing or hearing violence, such as being hit or threatened while
in a mother's arms, and being forced to participate in the disagreement as a tool for
spying or psychological pressure (Tomison 2000).

Child maltreatment and domestic violence often co-exist. Children in households


with family and domestic violence are involved in various ways in the violent incident.
Trauma of this nature is considered to create additional harm because it overwhelms
the child’s developing sense of coping mechanisms. Feelings of helplessness, fear
of death and a state of constant alertness are the daily burden of children living with
chronic violence and abuse. Overall, research indicates a consistent finding that
child witnesses exhibit a host of behavioural and emotional problems when
compared to other children.

The effects of the violence vary according to the age of the child, the frequency of
the violence and the level of support provided by external agencies. The effects of
witnessing chronic or extreme violence between parents/carers can be just a
debilitating as other forms of maltreatment. Preschoolers, in general, believe that
they are the cause of the violence; primary school children begin to learn that
violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution; and secondary children see
the violence as their parents/carers’ problem and often regard the victim as
responsible. Continued exposure to domestic violence through the secondary years
has a significant influence on child development and future adult behaviour.

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 21 Effective: 1 January 2005

Recent international and national research reveals animal cruelty being an indicator
of domestic violence, with data that demonstrates strong links between acts of
animal cruelty and a child’s future likelihood to commit violent crimes.

A useful web address for further information on this topic:

http://familyanddomesticviolence.communitydevelopment.wa.gov.au/content/content.
asp?page=information.htm

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 22 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX G SCHOOL RECORDING PROFORMA FOR DISCLOSURES AND


OBSERVATIONS OF CHILD MALTREATMENT

RECORD FOR _________________________________________________________

(Child’s Name)

DATE TIME DISCLOSURE DETAILS & OBSERVATIONS NAME OF


SCHOOL STAFF
MEMBER

NAME OF SCHOOL: ________________________________________________________

NAME OF STAFF MEMBER/S: ________________________ YEAR:_______ 200___

________________________ YEAR:_______ 200___

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.
Uncontrolled when printed 23 Effective: 1 January 2005

APPENDIX H SCHOOL REPORTING PROFORMA: CHILD MALTREATMENT


SCHOOLS TO FAX TO DCD

DATE: __________________________

SCHOOL: ___________________________________________________________________________

DISTRICT:___________________________________________________________________________

CHILD’S INFORMATION
Family Name: ________________________________________________________________________
First Name: __________________________________________________________________________
Also known as: _______________________________________________________________________
Age:________________________________________________________________________________
Address: ____________________________________________________________________________
__________________ _________________________________________________________________
Contact telephone: ____________________________________________________________________
Siblings:_____________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________
Write details below …

__________________________________ ________________________________
Staff member’s signature Principal’s signature
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CONFIRMATION SLIP FROM DCD
___________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________

Child Protection
All policy and procedural statements contained within this document are lawful orders for the purposes of section 80(a) of the Public
Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) and are therefore to be observed by all Department of Education and Training employees.