Working with children is a massive part of the work we do here at CatholicCare, and so child safety and protection is at the top of our priorities.
All of CatholicCare’s staff must undergo Childsafe training, with the most recent sessions completed in June to get all new staff up to speed, and we require all staff to undertake Working With Children Checks and Police Checks before starting employment with us.
Last financial year we collaborated with the Archdiocese of Melbourne to provide Childsafe training to all parishes within the Archdiocese, and throughout this time we trained 1,600 people. But training staff and members of the community is not where our commitment to child safety ends – we also provide workshops for children in schools.
Children need to understand what healthy, safe relationships look like and be given the power to speak up when something doesn’t seem right. We provided our Relationships Matter! workshops to 1,200 children in schools last financial year, and we continue to provide these today.
“Child safety is taken very seriously here at CatholicCare. We are here for the most vulnerable in our community, and that means we have the responsibility of providing safe, reliable services for all who we support,” says Netty Horton, CEO of CatholicCare.
During this National Child Protection Week, we invite you to consider child safety and leave you with some helpful tips* for ensuring the protection of children:
- Always believe, and never doubt. If a child tells you they’ve experienced something that has made them feel unsafe, listen to them, believe them, and don’t judge or pry for more information. With their permission, seek help from someone else or from a professional. Reporting of child abuse is mandatory for anyone who is a registered medical practitioner, a nurse or midwife, a teacher, school principal, or police officer.
- Respect and value the ideas and opinions of children. Know and do what’s important to them, and understand what they worry about.
- If you work with children, ensure that they are always visible. Children should never be left alone unnecessarily with an adult, but if it is necessary (for example, when undertaking counselling) they should still be visible!
- Be aware of the child’s environment. Do you think it’s safe? Do they feel safe? Make sure children have a safe space where they can be open and feel empowered to speak up.
For child safety resources, take a look at the
website, or the
Kids Central Toolkit
provided by ACU.
*These tips come from CatholicCare’s Childsafe training resources and from ACU’s Kids Central Toolkit.