This policy outlines the board’s commitment to child protection and recognises the important role and responsibility of all our staff in the protection of children. It includes the board’s expectations when child abuse is reported or suspected by us.
All staff members (including contractors and volunteers) are expected to be familiar with this policy, its associated procedures and protocols and abide by them.
The board of trustees has an obligation to ensure the wellbeing of children in our care so they thrive, belong and achieve. We are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and to the protection of all children. The safety and wellbeing of the child is our top priority. Advice will be sought through appropriate agencies in all cases of suspected or alleged abuse.
In line with section 15 of the Children, Young Person and Their Families Act, any person in our school/kura who believes that any child or young person has been, or is likely to be, harmed (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually) ill-treated, abused, neglected, or deprived must follow school procedures and may also report the matter to a social worker or the local police.
Although ultimate accountability sits with the board, the board delegates responsibility to the principal to ensure that all child safety procedures are implemented and available to all staff, contractors, volunteers and parents. Therefore, the principal must:
Related documentation and information
Further information including frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) are available on the NZSTA website www.nzsta.org.nz
Ministry of Education website www.education.govt.nz
Vulnerable Children Act 2014
Further information and sample child protection templates are available in the Children’s Action Plan guideline Safer Organisations, Safer Children:
“Child” means a boy or girl under the age of 14 years, “Young person” means a boy or girl of or over the age of 14 years but under 17 years; but does not include any person who is or has been married or in a civil union (Children, Young Person, and Their Families Act 1989, Section 2).
The Children, Young Persons and their Families Act, 1989, defines child abuse as "…the harming (whether physically, emotionally, sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person”.
Physical abuse is a non-accidental act on a child that results in physical harm. This includes, but is not limited to, beating, hitting, shaking, burning, drowning, suffocating, biting, poisoning or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse also involves the fabrication or inducing of illness.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effect on the child's emotional development. This can include a pattern of rejecting, degrading, ignoring, isolating, corrupting, exploiting or terrorising a child. It may also include age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It also includes the seeing or hearing the ill treatment of others.
Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities (penetrative and non-penetrative, for example, rape, kissing, touching, masturbation) as well as non-contact acts such as involving children in the looking at or production of sexual images, sexual activities and sexual behaviours.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, causing long term serious harm to the child's health or development. It may also include neglect of a child's basic or emotional needs. Neglect is a lack: of action, emotion or basic needs.
Family Violence is physical, emotional, sexual and other abuse by someone (usually but not always a man) of a person (usually but not always a woman) with whom they have or have had some form of intimate relationship with, such as marriage or cohabitation, in order to maintain power and control over a person. It is important to be vigilant to any signs, particularly if children are being affected.
It is the responsibility of staff to be vigilant, have knowledge and awareness of the indicators of neglect, potential or actual abuse and to report any concerns, suspicions or allegations of suspected abuse immediately and ensure that the concern is taken seriously and reported.
St Joseph’s School will have an appointed Designated Person for Child Protection. This function will be held by the Principal supported by the Deputy Principal. In the event that the abuse is by a staff member, the Board Chair will be informed. If the abuse is by the Principal, the Board chair will be the Designated Person for Child Protection.
SOURCE: s15-16 Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989
s15. Reporting of ill-treatment or neglect of child or young person
Any person who believes that any child or young person has been, or is likely to be, harmed (whether physically, emotionally or sexually), ill-treated, abused, neglected or deprived, may report the matter to a Social Worker (Child and Young Person Family Services) or a member of the Police. Always seek advice from and inform the principal of action taken.
s16. Protection of person reporting ill-treatment or neglect of child or young person
No civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings shall lie against any person in respect of the disclosure or supply, or the manner of the disclosure or supply, by that person pursuant to section 15 of this Act, of information concerning a child or young person (whether or not that information also concerns any other person), unless the information was disclosed or supplied in bad faith.
Principle 11 of the Privacy Act, 1993 states "disclosure of the information is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat".
Adapted from “Creating a Safe School” Child Matters NZ
All employees (permanent, fixed term, relievers) to positions that have direct and/or frequent contact with children or young people will be conditional on a safety check.
Before making any appointment, St Joseph’s School will undertake a series of checks to ascertain the candidate’s identity, suitability and safety to work in the school. These will adhere to the statutory obligations contained within the legislation such as the Privacy Act, the Human Rights Act and Vulnerable Children Act.
All appointments will follow the requirements of the Recruitment and Appointment Policy and its guidelines which include:
All staff will update their child protection training every three years as a minimum.
St Joseph’s School recognises that a relationship between an adult and a child or young person cannot be a relationship between equals. There is a potential for exploitation and harm of vulnerable young people. Adults have a responsibility to ensure that an unequal balance of power is not used for personal advantage or gratification.
All staff are expected to behave in a manner that maintains appropriate professional boundaries and avoids behaviour which might be misinterpreted by others.
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