© WEP 2020
Child Safe Policy
World Education Program Australia Ltd Child Safe Policy
Our organisation is committed to the safety of students participating in WEP programs.
We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. We support and respect all children, as well as our staff, coordinators, parents and host families.
We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children.
We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our robust policies and procedures.
We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.
Our organisation is committed to preventing child abuse, identifying risks early and removing and reducing risks.
Our organisation has robust human resources and recruitment practices for all staff and volunteers.
Our organisation is committed to regularly training and educating our staff and volunteers on child abuse risks.
We support and respect all children, as well as our staff, coordinators, parents and host families.
We are committed to providing safe environments for all WEP students, regardless of race, physical features, culture, linguistic background, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability.
We have specific policies, procedures and training in place that support our leadership team, staff and volunteers to achieve these commitments.
If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse phone 000.
This policy is intended to empower WEP students, all of whom are vital and active participants in our organisation. We involve them when making decisions, especially about matters that directly affect them. We listen to their views and respect what they have to say.
We promote diversity and tolerance and respect the rights, dignity and worth of all people involved in WEP programs regardless of race, physical features, culture, linguistic background, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability. All applicants for WEP programs are welcomed. Each applicant is carefully reviewed and acceptance is based on an overall assessment of the applicant’s academic record, academic references, motivation and understanding of program expectations, personal interview report, medical (psychological and physical) report and suitability for participation in programs that necessitate successful integration and adaptation into another host culture, family and school.
This policy guides our staff, officers, board members, host families, coordinators, students and parents on acceptable behavioural expectations.
All associates of WEP, staff, officers, board members, host families, coordinators, and students must agree to abide by a role-specific code of conduct which delineates the standards of conduct required when working with children or participating in a WEP program and are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the code of their role-specific code of conduct.
Training and Supervision
Training and education is important to ensure that everyone in our organisation understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Our organisational culture aims for all individuals associated with WEP to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns. We train everyone associated with WEP to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.
We support all associates of WEP through ongoing supervision to ensure:
- all students participating in WEP programs, regardless of race, physical features, culture, linguistic background, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability, are protected from abuse, and
- all associates of WEP are aware of their legal responsibilities, recognise the signs of abuse and know how to respond to and report cases of suspected child abuse.
New employees and volunteers will be supervised regularly to ensure they understand our organisation’s commitment to child safety and that everyone has a role to play in protecting children from abuse, as well as checking that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate. Depending on the severity and urgency of the matter, any inappropriate behaviour will be reported through appropriate channels and relevant state authorities:
- New South Wales Child Protection Authority and New South Wales Police
- Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and Queensland Police
- Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police
We take all reasonable steps to employ skilled people to work with children. We develop selection criteria and advertisements that clearly demonstrate our commitment to child safety and an awareness of our social and legislative responsibilities. Our organisation understands that when recruiting staff and volunteers we have ethical as well as legislative obligations.
We actively encourage applications from students regardless of race, physical features, culture, linguistic background, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability.
All people engaged in child-related work, including volunteers, as well as external contractors with regular access to our office (i.e. cleaners, IT staff), are required to hold a Working with Children Check and to provide evidence of this Check. Please see the relevant Working with Children Check websites:
We carry out reference checks and police record checks to ensure that we are recruiting the right people. Police record checks are used only for the purposes of recruitment and are discarded after the recruitment process is complete. We retain records (but not the actual criminal record) if an applicant’s criminal history affected our decision making process.
If during the recruitment process a person’s records indicate a criminal history then the person will be given the opportunity to provide further information and context.
Fair Procedures for all Associates of WEP Australia
The safety and wellbeing of children is our primary concern. WEP is fair and just to all associates: board members, officers, staff, coordinators, host families, parents and students. Decisions made when recruiting, assessing incidents and undertaking disciplinary action will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.
We record all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using our incident reporting form, including investigation updates. All records are securely stored.
If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised, we provide updates to all relevant parties on progress and any actions undertaken by WEP, as an organisation.
We respect the privacy of all individuals associated with WEP, whether they be board members, officers, staff, coordinators, host family members, parents or children. Unless there is a risk to someone’s safety, safeguards and practices in place ensure personal information is protected and remains confidential. Everyone is entitled to know how personal information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will have access to it.
Our organisation takes our legal responsibilities seriously. In Victoria, this includes the following:
- Failure to disclose: Reporting child sexual abuse is a community-wide responsibility. All adults in Victoria who have a reasonable belief that an adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 have an obligation to report that information to the police.
- Failure to protect: People of authority in our organisation will commit an offence if they know of a substantial risk of child sexual abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently fail to do so.
Any personnel who are mandatory reporters must comply with their duties.
In New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, individuals are required to protect children when a risk is identified (see information above about the failure to protect offence for Victorians). In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to our students.
We have risk management strategies in place to identify, assess, and take steps to minimise child abuse risks that include online environments.
This policy will be reviewed every two years and following significant incidents, if they occur. WEP associates will be given the opportunity to contribute to revisions applied to their role-specific code of conduct.
Allegations, Concerns and Complaints
Our organisation takes all allegations seriously and has practices in place to investigate thoroughly and quickly. Our staff, officers, board members, coordinators, host families and parents are trained to deal appropriately with allegations.
We work to ensure all children, host families, coordinators, parents, staff, officers and board members know what to do and who to tell if they:
- observe abuse or inappropriate behaviour,
- are told of abuse or inappropriate behaviour, or
- are a victim of abuse or inappropriate behaviour.
All associates of WEP holding a reasonable belief that an abusive incident has occurred have a responsibility to report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may be:
- a child states they or someone they know has been abused (noting that sometimes the child may in fact be referring to themselves)
- behaviour consistent with that of an abuse victim is observed (as described in WEP’s child protection training modules).
- someone else has raised a suspicion of abuse but is unwilling to report it
- observing suspicious behaviour.
 A person will not commit this offence if they have a reasonable excuse for not disclosing the information, including a fear for their safety or where the information has already been disclosed.
Further information about the failure to disclose offence is available on the Department of Justice and Regulation website
 Mandatory reporters 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. This applies, in QLD to teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers with child protection responsibilities and individuals performing a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014, in NSW to individuals in positions of management with duties that include direct responsibility for delivering or supervising health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services or law enforcement to children or to individuals who, in the course of paid employment deliver health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services or law enforcement to children, and in VIC to doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers (including early childhood teachers), principals and police.