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Presentation on theme: "DIOCESAN STUDENT PROTECTION INSERVICE 2015"— Presentation transcript:


2 For many young people , the school is the one stable human entity that can provide hope for the future and a secure and meaningful community. Sue Doran

Maintain CONFIDENTIALITY Know your boundaries – This session is not the setting for self help so please think about the setting before disclosing your own issues (if any). Support (Self Care) – Child abuse is a sensitive topic; you may need to have a break during the session.

4 SECTION 1 Introduction Why Student Protection?

LEGISLATION Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD) Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (QLD) The Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Regulation, 2001 Education (QCT) Act 2005 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 and Regulation 2006(QLD) The Education and Training Amendment Act 2011 The Education Legislation Amendment Act 2012 Education Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2014 Child Protection Act 1999 (2014 Amendments)

Catholic Education, Diocese of Rockhampton is committed to the implementation of student protection strategies and procedures that are intended to prevent harm to students, and to respond quickly and effectively when they suspect or are informed of any type of harm to a student caused by any person.



9 SECTION 2 Towards Healing / Historical Matters

10 Heightened awareness because of the Royal Commission “Institutional Responses to Allegations and Incidents of Child Sexual abuse” Possibility of increased calls to Church organisations. Possibility of becoming aware of issues inside and outside work

11 If schools / colleges receive phone calls regarding allegations of abuse from the past, they should always respond pastorally. If possible obtain contact details of the person involved and let them know someone will contact them who can help and advise. Pass on the information to the Student Protection Co-ordinator (or AD:S) immediately.

12 Options (for adults) Police ( including anonymous reporting
All adults should be encouraged to report to police. Towards Healing (the Church’s pastoral response) Pastoral Support Counselling (Centacare or other) DCEO document on responding to disclosures may help

13 SECTION 3 Definitions & Indicators

14 A volunteer whose presence in the school has been authorised;
Harm to students can take many forms and may be caused by the actions of: a fellow student; A volunteer whose presence in the school has been authorised; someone at a distance from the immediate school community such as parent/caregiver, relative, neighbour friend of family or stranger; the student himself or herself; a member of the school staff (or other staff member of DCEO), religious, priest, or lay person, whether teacher, ancillary staff or connected to the school in some administrative or pastoral capacity;

15 Physical Abuse Physical abuse is commonly characterised by physical injury resulting from practices such as punching, beating, shaking, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child.


17 Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse tends to be a chronic behavioural pattern directed at the child/young person whereby their self esteem and social competence is undermined or eroded over time. A child/young person can also experience emotional abuse by being exposed to a dysfunctional environment which includes domestic violence.


19 Neglect Neglect is characterised by the failure to provide for the child/young person’s basic needs. This can occur through direct and deliberate action or by omission or deliberate inaction to care for the child/young person.


21 Definition of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse occurs when an adult, stronger child or adolescent uses their power or authority to involve a child in sexual activity. Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional. It may involve physical contact with another person, but not necessarily so.

22 Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse
More than 5,000 substantiated child sexual abuse cases make it into Australian courts each year, but experts believe the real number of incidents is closer to 50,000 (Dr B Klettke; Deakin University Melbourne, reported in the Age, August 26th 2008)

23 Speaking Up 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused in Australia (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2004) 31% of respondents in an Australian study stated they would not believe children's stories about being abused, meaning most children have to tell 3 different adults before they are believed (Australian Childhood Foundation Report 2006) Only about 3% of abused children will ever tell of their abuse (Savi Report, 2004) Only 5% of child sex offenders will have been caught and convicted for their crimes (Dr K. Gelb, Victorian Sentencing Commission)

24 Who sexually offends against children?
Males 90 to 95% of sex offenders are male. (Crime Statistics / Victim Reports, British Crime Survey) Females Up to 6% of all reported child sexual abuse in Australia is perpetrated by females. (Child Wise, 2006) Adolescents At least 33% of all offending against children in Australia is committed by another child or young person. (P.Tidmarsh, MAPPS, 2005)

25 Sexual abuse can include:
kissing or holding a child in a sexual manner exposing a sexual body part to a child talking in a sexually explicit way that is not age or developmentally appropriate making obscene phone calls or remarks to a child sending obscene mobile text messages or s to a child fondling a child in a sexual manner persistently intruding on a child's privacy

26 showing pornographic films, magazines or photographs to a child
penetrating the child's vagina or anus by penis, finger or any other object oral sex rape incest showing pornographic films, magazines or photographs to a child having a child pose or perform in a sexual manner forcing a child to watch a sexual act child prostitution Source: Queensland Government, Child Safety Services

27 Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse
A child may say things, do things or exhibit physical signs that are clues to sexual abuse, even if they do not disclose clear information.

28 Sexual abuse – What a child might say or do
Constant complaints of headaches and/or abdominal pains Difficulties at school or change in level of performance at school Sleep disorders Persistent habits such as sucking, biting or rocking Inhibition to play Serious difficulties relating to peers and/or adults Self-destructive behaviour

29 Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse
Some indicators of child sexual abuse may include: displaying greater sexual knowledge than normally expected for their age or developmental level inappropriate sexual play and behaviour with themselves, other children or dolls and toys hints about sexual activity through actions or comments that are inappropriate to the child’s age or developmental level excessive masturbation or masturbation in public after kindergarten age persistent bedwetting, urinating or soiling in clothes persistent sexual themes in their drawings or play time

30 Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse
running away destroying property hurting or mutilating animals creating stories, poems or artwork about abuse difficulty concentrating or being withdrawn or overly obedient having unexpected redness, soreness or injury around the penis, vagina, mouth or anus having torn, stained or bloody clothing, especially underwear recurring themes of power or control in play Should any of the above be present, a child may need parents or other adults to take action to keep them safe from any further harm.

31 (Adapted from South East CASA brochure)
Some possible indicators signs: “The ‘key’ is to look for bunches of these not focus on the existence of one or two” years (Adapted from South East CASA brochure) Marked unexplained (not linked to changes to the environment or developmental stages) changes in the following; Fears, nightmares, sleep difficulties, headaches, angry, daydream/withdrawn, sad, struggles at school, changes friends, wets or soils themselves, behaves younger, frequent stomach and other pains, eager to please, appears to tell ‘stories’ known not to be true, sexualized play / with self and or others.

To get close to children, people who sexually offend use ‘grooming’ techniques which allow them to form ‘special’ or ‘power-based’ relationships with children.

33 Grooming Techniques Grooming techniques include:
Buying children lollies, sporting equipment, swap cards and other things a child may like or value Paying special attention to a child and making them feel special Asking children to keep secrets from parents, siblings & friends – may not necessarily be sexual Using threats, bribes and/or physical violence

34 Visible grooming… Situations where adults are involved with a child more than you would expect in their role/relationship Where an adult seems to be particularly interested in a child or particular activities that allow for additional intimacy i.e. overnights, swimming, time alone Situations where a child is given gifts or taken to outings which are unexpected or unusual in any way A child seems to have a special relationship with aspects to it that are ‘private’ and do not involve other adults or children. Where a child may be keeping secrets or have built a relationship with a secret friend

35 Groomer Profile Well-socialised extra-familial child molesters are:
Too helpful  Too opportunistic Too private  Too superficial Too touchy with children  Too attentive Too involved with image management  Too good to be true Too aggressive when confronted Too one-sided in relationships (always giving, never taking) Too prone to violate boundaries of personal space and privacy Too quick to drop friendships when children grow older Too likely to disappear when contact with children is denied Altogether too charming (Carla Van Dam, 2006)

36 Further reading and resources are available for loan from the
Resource Centre at DCEO

37 SECTION 4 Disclosure and Response

38 It is important to know that it is rare that a child will disclose physical or sexual abuse experience/s


40 DISCLOSURE OF HARM Disclosures of Harm may sound like:
“I think I saw…..” “Somebody told me that….” “Just think you should know….” “I’m not sure what I want you to do, but….”

41 Responding to Disclosures
DO Find a private place to talk Let them tell their experience in their own words and time Listen calmly Validate the disclosure e.g. “I am pleased you have told me these things” Believe them Contain your own feelings Avoid defending the abuser Support them Record and report

42 Responding to Disclosures
DON’T Panic and overreact Ask leading questions e.g. “Was it your father who did it to you?” Ask too many questions Promise confidentiality Make little of it Show your feelings towards the abuser Leave the child alone after a disclosure Forget Confidentiality

43 SECTION 5 Reporting and Recording

44 ACCORDING TO LEGISLATION AND POLICY SCHOOL STAFF MUST REPORT (to their Principal, Student Protection Contact, AD:S ,Diocesan Director): When they are concerned at significant changes in the behaviour of a student or behaviours that are not developmentally appropriate The presence of new unexplained and suspicious injuries When they see the harm happening or a student tells them they or someone else has been harmed When they suspect there are inappropriate images on a student’s technology including naked “selfies” Any other information that they believe may indicate a child is being harmed

45 THE EDUCATION ACT SAYS ALL STAFF MUST REPORT SEXUAL ABUSE AND LIKELY SEXUAL ABUSE TO THE POLICE (Mandatory reporting) The Education act requires all Queensland school staff to report to the Police (through their Principal or Diocesan Director) concerns that a student had been sexually abused or is likely to be sexually abused (suspected grooming) by any person. This includes the requirement to report Historical sexual abuse even if it is identified as “already been dealt with”.

46 What if I don’t make a report of suspected sexual abuse?
It is an offence and the law establishes a penalty for failing to report a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse of a student under 18 years attending the school by any person. The offence is punishable by a maximum penalty of $2000. Failure to report a reasonable suspicion that a student under 18 years has been sexually abused constitutes an offence. There is a penalty prescribed for failing to report sexual abuse as required under the legislation. The offence is punishable by a maximum penalty of $2000.

47 What if I don’t make a report of likely sexual abuse?
Although the law requires staff to report likely sexual abuse to a student, the law does not prescribe a penalty if you fail to do so. However if an employee fails to report a suspicion of sexual abuse or likely sexual abuse of a student by any person, and/or harm/ or likely harm to a student, they could also be subject to disciplinary procedures for failing to comply with the DCEO Student Protection Processes. If the staff member is a registered teacher, there may also be consequences imposed by the Queensland College of Teachers for failure to report. Although reporting likely sexual abuse is required by law, it is not an offence to fail to report likely sexual abuse and the law does not prescribe a penalty. However in all cases if an employee fails to report an incident of sexual abuse or likely sexual abuse of a student by anyone and/or harm or risk of harm to a student from any source they could still be subject to disciplinary procedures for not complying with the DCEO Student Protection Processes. If the staff member is a registered teacher, there may also be consequences imposed by the Queensland College of Teachers for failure to report.

48 Change to Education Act
Schools must have a process to RESPOND to student harm e.g. self harm, student to student harm (other than sexual abuse or harm under Child Protection Act). This means that an assessment can be made as to the most appropriate response which can include school management processes, referral to CYMHS, Headspace etc..

Clarifies definition of child in need of Protection as: Has suffered SIGNIFICANT harm, is suffering SIGNIFICANT harm or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering SIGNIFICANT harm Does NOT have a parent able and willing to protect them from harm

Registered teachers are now also mandatory reporters under Child protection legislation and must report a suspicion that a child has suffered, is suffering or may suffer significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse and may not have a parent willing and able to protect them (Section 13 E). This is a reportable suspicion under legislation. This report can be made through their Principal who must then report back to the teacher that they have acted on the report. Consequences for failing to report are through employer or QCT.

51 Under the new legislation anyone may report to Child Safety a reasonable suspicion that a child may be in need of protection when the child is experiencing or is at risk of experiencing significant harm and there is no parent able and willing to protect them e.g. reporting of emotional abuse or neglect.

On-line tool to assist professionals to decide whether to report concerns about a child Not mandatory to use it but may assist decision making and identify appropriate support and intervention services School staff must inform their Principal if they have concerns that relate to a student that suggest use of the Child Protection Guide

A community based intake and REFERRAL service that schools may report to with concerns about a family that they do not believe will reach the threshold for Child Safety intervention Have both Domestic and Family Violence worker and an out posted Child Safety worker Preferable that families agree to referral but PRINCIPALS can refer without family consent (Section 159M of the Child Protection Act1999) Commences July 2015 in Rockhampton Diocese except Mackay which is January 2016

54 Whereas legal obligations to report sexual abuse, likely sexual abuse and physical abuse of students is limited to the staff member’s employment at the school, DCEO would strongly suggest that as responsible community members staff SHOULD report any child protection concerns they may have. It is important to note that the mandatory obligation of school staff members to report sexual abuse extends only to suspicions formed in the course of the staff member’s employment at the school. A staff member may form a suspicion as a result of information obtained from a situation not related to their employment at the school (for example, they overhear something on the bus, or as a result of something a child tells them at club football training they suspect sexual abuse of a child). If the child concerned is not a student of the school, the staff member is free to make a report directly to the police or Child Safety Services. If the child concerned is a student of the school at which the staff member works, they should respond to the information as a matter to be reported as harm or likely harm under the Student Protection Processes. However, if the child concerned is a student of the school at which the staff member works and the information was obtained in a capacity that bears some relationship to the staff member’s employment or professional status, the staff member may well decide that the information was obtained “in the course of the staff member’s employment at the school” and so make a mandatory report.

55 LEGAL PROTECTION The law ensures that staff members reporting a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse or likely sexual abuse of a student will not be liable under a civil, criminal or administrative process. The identity of individuals who notify Child Safety or the Police Service of their concerns about a child is confidential and they are protected from civil liability The law ensures that staff members reporting sexual abuse and/or likely sexual abuse of a student under 18 years of age attending the school will not be liable, civilly, criminally or under an administrative process for giving the information contained in the report to someone else. This protection covers the following: The staff member as the first person who gives a written report about their suspicions to the principal The staff member as the first person (not the principal) who gives a written report about their suspicions to the Director of the Governing Body (or delegate) The principal as the first person who makes a report to the police and sends a copy of the report to the Director of the Governing Body (or delegate) The principal or Director of the Governing Body (or delegate) who submits the written report to the police.

56 (s. 13H Child Protection Act)
As a mandatory reporter you can confer with a colleague employed within your school or the Student Protection Coordinator or the Assistant Director : Schools at DCEO (s. 13H Child Protection Act) Principal will need to communicate to staff member who makes a report that it has been actioned Explain that Section 13H of the Act allows mandatory reporters to confer with a colleague employed within their own agency to: form a reasonable suspicion that a child may be in need of protection take action to respond to suspected harm or risk of harm report to Child Safety and maintain records about a child who may be in need of protection. You can confer with colleagues but must only communicate with those who have a need to know!

57 COMMUNICATION School staff can directly contact the Assistant Director: Schools, Student Protection Coordinator or the Director Principal will inform staff member who raised the concern of action taken – this is essential under mandatory reporting Staff, if not happy with the outcome of their reporting to school authorities, may directly report to statutory authorities

58 WHAT DO I DO (as a staff member)?
If you suspect, have a report or disclosure of harm of any kind you must report this to: The School’s Student Protection Contact (who will refer the report to the Principal) or The Principal If the incident involves the Principal report the incident immediately to the Assistant Director: Schools or, in the case of mandatory reporting, to the Diocesan Director

59 HOW DO I DO IT? Remember confidentiality.
Complete a Student Protection Reporting Form (available on Diocesan Student Protection Portal): NEW FORM FOR ALL REPORTING AVAILABLE from 2015 Make an appointment as soon as possible [immediately in the case of the mandatory reporting requirements and/or if you feel the child is in immediate danger] with the Principal (or Student Protection Contact.) Remember confidentiality.


Your Report is handed to the principal. Action could include: Keeping diary notes to monitor a situation. Pastoral support for the child and family Notifying the Department of Child Safety. Notifying the Child Protection Investigation Unit Notifying Towards Healing and the Director of Qld Professional Standards A referral to an outside agency. The Principal will inform the Student Protection Coordinator or AD: Schools at DCEO or (in the case of mandatory reporting) the Diocesan Director.

62 INFORMING PARENTS Parents are not to be contacted before reports are made to Police or Child Safety. However it is appropriate to speak to these statutory authorities as soon as possible after the report has been submitted about their intervention and ascertain when you can inform parents without jeopardizing their investigation.

63 INFORMING PARENTS In cases when there are student to student sexualised behaviours (e.g. “selfies” , sexualised play) it is appropriate to contact police immediately the report is made to ascertain if you can advise parents.


65 Catholic Education, Diocese of Rockhampton Student Protection Processes will be updated Available DCEO Staff Portal, DCEO Website, School Office, School Website, School Library

66 STAFF RESPONSIBILITY It is the responsibility of all staff to: Be alert to the signs which could indicate that a student is being harmed in some way. Develop basic skills in knowing how to respond to a disclosure by a student. Understand their obligations under legislation and policy to report harm

The Department of Child Safety and Police determine whether abuse has occurred or if a child is at risk of harm and implement the action to be taken.

Authorised Child Safety and Police Officers can have contact with children at school or in a Child Care Centre in specific situations when investigating an allegation of harm to a child. It is the responsibility of these officers – NOT THE SCHOOL – to inform the parents/caregivers.

69 CONFIDENTIALITY Any case of suspected harm to students must remain confidential, should never become a topic of gossip and should never be spoken about freely with others. If communicated to others with no right to know, the person suspected could take an action for damages for defamation.

70 A boy in Year 7 was caught with pornographic magazines
A boy in Year 7 was caught with pornographic magazines. The boy told the teacher his stepfather gave them to him as a present. He said the magazines were his secret with his stepfather and he would be really angry if he knew he had shown them to anyone else. The student said that he wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about his secrets with his stepfather. Student said he can’t tell his mum because he is scared his stepfather may hurt him and his mum. The teacher honestly and reasonably believes the child has suffered significant harm and there may not be a parent able and willing to protect him from the harm. The teacher has therefore formed a reasonable suspicion that the child may be in need of protection and the matter should be reported to Child Safety. As the information indicates that harm has been caused by sexual abuse, this is also a reportable suspicion and therefore must be reported to Child Safety. As information indicates likely sexual abuse a report must be made to Queensland Police Service in accordance with ss B of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006.

71 SECTION 6 Prevention

72 It is important that: Every child knows to whom they can report instances of abuse at your school [Class Teacher, Student Protection Contact, Principal]. Every child has been involved in a lesson based on the Feeling Unsafe Poster. The Feeling Unsafe Posters are displayed all over the school. Student Protection Contacts are introduced to the community (e.g. at assembly) on a regular basis.

73 DCEO Primary School Poster Secondary College Poster

74 Mandatory Child Safety Curriculum
From the commencement of the 2015 school year, the teaching of a Child Safety Curriculum in all kindergartens, pre-prep, prep, primary schools and colleges in the Diocese of Rockhampton will be mandatory. Circular No: 2014/099

75 Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum
To further assist all our staff with the teaching of child safety, I am strongly recommending the use of the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum. Circular No: 2014/099

76 Why A Child Safety Curriculum?
Teaching child safety messages assists school communities to develop greater awareness of issues associated with safety. Schools can also provide students with knowledge and skills to help them recognise, react and report harm and potentially harmful situations. "Department of Education, Training and Employment – Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum."

77 The Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum has been developed by the Department of Education, Training and Employment to support schools to “deliver key safety messages to students in Prep-Year 9. Students will learn how to Recognise, React and Report when they are unsafe or find themselves in situations that can have a significant detrimental effect on their physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing.” (Department of Education, Training and Employment).

78 The Curriculum materials are located on Scootle



81 BLUE CARDS (do help) Since 2001 there have been over 5,800 cases where people have been prevented from working with children. In alone there were over 868 cases where people were prevented from working with children.

All regulated child-related organisations in Queensland are required by law to have a risk management strategy. Their purpose is to protect children in child-related service environments from harm by developing and implementing practices and procedures.

Include: appropriate standards of behaviour for interacting with children and young people maintaining a blue card register suitable recruitment, training and management of staff (in addition to blue card screening) appropriate handling of disclosures and suspicions of harm involving children and young people in the development of organisation’s processes

84 Remember that: The child’s safety and well-being is paramount;
Your decision not to report may place a child at serious, possible life-threatening risk; The main aim of the Department of Child Safety is to follow up with the family to make sure the child is safe and try to assist the family to resolve problems and/or refer the family to support agencies.

85 Scenario 1 A 9 year old female student came to school with a black eye. When her teacher asked how she got the black eye the student told the teacher her father hit her. The student lives with her mother but has contact with her father and step-mother every second weekend. The student says she had just had a weekend with her father and was going back to her mother’s home that afternoon. The school contacted the mother who immediately came to the school to take the student to the doctor to have her eye checked. The mother also told the school that she was going to the Family Court to seek an order about the father’s contact with the student.

86 Suggested Action SIGNIFICANT Physical harm
Complete Student Protection Reporting Form Fax or this form to Queensland Police Service Fax or this form also to Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) - only if source of the suspected or likely abuse is a family member of the student and there is no parent able and willing to protect the student to

87 Scenario 2 The Principal was informed by the parent of a Year 10 student that one of the other female Year 10 students was having a sexual relationship with her boyfriend who was a 22 year old male who she met through her part time job. The parent said that her daughter told her about the situation because she was worried that the other student might get pregnant or get a sexually transmitted infection. The woman’s daughter had told her the student was having sex with this young man and talked about it with her friends at school and on Facebook (The parent showed the Principal a couple of posts on Facebook). The parent stated that, as far as she was aware, the student’s parents had no knowledge of the relationship as the student would tell them she was working or going to a school event when she was actually meeting up with the young man. The Principal spoke with the student who confirmed that she did have a boyfriend who was 22 years old. The Principal contacted the student’s mother with the student’s consent and spoke with her about the information provided by the student and the other parent. The student’s mother was very distressed and said they had no knowledge of the student’s relationship with this young man. The mother said she would speak with her husband and they would do whatever was required to protect the student and co-operate with the QPS.

Complete Student Protection Reporting Form Fax or this form to Queensland Police Service Fax or this form also to Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) - only if source of the suspected or likely sexual abuse is a family member of the student and there is no parent able and willing to protect the student to

CONCLUSION Be aware: Some people feel that making a notification may: place their relationship with the child at risk place their relationship with the family at risk make the child’s situation worse mean they have to be involved in an investigation mean they will have to attend court and be cross examined mean they are ‘telling’ on a family without knowing with certainty whether abuse or maltreatment is actually occurring mean they are making an unfair class, race or gender judgment make them feel as though they are intruding on another family’s business BUT – AT THE END OF THE DAY, A CHILD’S WELL-BEING COMES FIRST

90 On behalf of the students from the Schools of the Rockhampton Diocese…


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