child safe policy

This MGIC Child Safety Policy guides workers (paid and volunteer) on how to behave when interacting and engaging with children in our organisation and focuses on how we can build and maintain a child safe environment which is inclusive, transparent and promotes children’s participation.

Introduction

Murwillumbah Golf Improvement Centre (MGIC) is committed to ensuring that children and young people who participate in its golf activities have a safe and happy experience. MGIC supports and respects children, young people, staff, volunteers and participants.

The aim of MGIC's Child Safe Policy (the Policy) is to help MCIG meet the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and protect the safety of children that we teach and supervise in order to prevent abuse from occurring, and in the event that allegations are raised in relation to child abuse, to ensure that the allegations are properly addressed. All complaints will be treated seriously, fully investigated and handled with maximum confidentiality and discretion.

The MGIC Team listen to, respect and involve children and young people in decision making processes, especially about matters that will directly affect them (Including their engagement, safety and well-being). MGIC encourages children and young people and their parents/guardians/carers or families to contact us to provide feedback or raise concerns.

Policy statement

MGIC is committed to providing affordable, fair and equitable access to quality golf programs, activities and services, while acting in the best interests of children and young people in the sport. This Includes protecting members' privacy, promoting positive behaviours and attitudes, and safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the community, particularly children and young people.

MGIC supports the active and equitable participation in golf of all children and young people and consider that the health, safety and well-being of children and young people takes priority over all other competing considerations.

Children’s and young people’s genuine engagement, safety and welfare is at the center of MGIC thoughts, values and actions, with strategies that reduce the likelihood of harm and procedures to respond to any concerns, disclosures, allegations or suspicions of harm. This is necessary to protect children and young people as well as the the image and reputation of the sport, MGIC and its affiliates/partners.

MGIC has a zero tolerance approach to child abuse and is committed to promoting and protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect to the greatest extent possible. All children and young people have equal rights to protection from abuse and neglect, regardless of their beliefs, cultural background, sex, religion, disability or sexual orientation etc.

Child protection is a shared responsibility between parents/guardians/carers, the MGIC Team and its affiliates/partners, including the Murwillumbah Golf Club (MGC) members, guests and regional community. Everyone that participates in MGIC’s programs, activities and services is responsible for the care and protection of children and young people, and reporting information about their abuse.

Two members of the MGIC Team are Aboriginal, with first-hand knowledge of the importance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youths to remain connected to their Elders, family, community, culture and Country. All members of the MGIC Team are equally committed to the cultural safety and well-being of:

  • Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and young people;

  • children and youths from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds; and

  • children and youths who are living with a disability.

Scope

This Policy applies to the participants, parents/guardians/carers, spectators, the MGIC Team and its affiliates/partners, including the Murwillumbah Golf Club (MGC) members, guests and the regional community throughout all MGIC programs, activities and services.

This Policy will continue to apply retrospectively to a person following the cessation of their association or employment with MGIC.

Failure to implement and comply with this Policy may cause MGIC to end its affiliation or partnership with an oganisation that is in breach of its obligations.

 

Documents and legislation

This Policy must be read in conjunction with MGIC policies and procedures including Privacy Policy; Complaints & Corrections Procedures; code of behaviour and the law of the Commonwealth and New South Wales Including but not limited to:

  • Child Protection (Working With Children) Act 2012;

  • Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.

Definitions

Child/young person means a person involved in the activities of MGIC and under the age of 18 years unless otherwise stated under the applicable law, for example Section 3 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) defines child as a person who is under the age of 16 years.

Child protection means any responsibility, measure or activity undertaken to safeguard children from harm.

Sexual offence means a criminal offence involving sexual activity or actions of indecency or any act which exposes a child to, or involves a child in, sexual activity or matters beyond his or her understanding or contrary to accepted community standards.

 

Sexual offence behaviours can include the fondling of genitals, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or any other object, fondling of breasts, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and exposing the child to or involving the child in pornography. It Includes child grooming, which Includes actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child (or the child’s carer, family or supervisor) to lower the child’s inhibitions and prepare them for engagement in a sexual offence.

Mandatory reporter means a person who is legally required to make a report to the Department of Human Services or the Police if they form a belief on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection. It Includes teachers, prIncipals, registered psychologists, nurses, doctors and midwives.

Recognising and reporting child abuse

A person may, in the course of participating in the sport of golf or other programs, activities or services of MGIC or carrying out their work, form a belief on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection from child abuse. If a person is concerned about an immediate risk to a child’s or young person’s safety, the person must phone “000” as soon as practicable. See also 

Child abuse can be divided into four categories:

Child abuse Includes any actions that results in actual or potential harm to a child, in circumstances where the child’s parents have not protected, or are unlikely to protect, the child.

  • Physical abuse: occurs when a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of a physical injury, such as a non-accidental physical injury;

  • Sexual abuse: occurs when a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of sexual abuse, such as when a child is exploited, or used by another for his or her sexual gratification or sexual arousal, or for that of others;

  • Emotional and psychological abuse: occurs when a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, emotional or psychological harm of such a kind that the child’s emotional or intellectual development is or is likely to be significantly damaged; and

  • Neglect: occurs when a child’s physical development or health has been, or is likely to be significantly damaged. It refers to an omission, such as depriving a child of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, or medical care.

 

For more information about deeming if a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, view Section 23 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW), which is summarised at Australian legal definitions: When is a child in need of protection?

Select classes of people in the community (Including teachers, nurses and doctors) are classified as Mandatory Reporters and required by law to report to the Child Protection Unit of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) where they have formed a belief, on reasonable grounds, that a child is in need of protection because they have suffered (or are likely to suffer) significant harm due to physical or sexual abuse. This report must be made as soon as practicable, and after each occasion where he or she becomes aware of a further reasonable grounds for the belief.

Reasonable grounds for belief is formed if a reasonable person believes that:

  • the child is in need of protection;

  • the child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of physical or sexual injury; and

  • the child’s parents are unable or unwilling to protect the child.

 

To form a reasonable belief, consider and objectively assess all the relevant facts, such as the source of the allegation and how it was communicated, the nature of and details of the allegation, and whether there is any other related matters known regarding the alleged perpetrator.

A ‘reasonable belief’ or a ‘belief on reasonable grounds’ is not the same as having proof, but is more than mere rumour or speculation. A person has reasonable grounds to notify if:

  • a child states that they have been physically or sexually abused;

  • a child states that they know someone who has been physically or sexually abused (sometimes the child may be talking about themselves);

  • someone who knows a child states that the child has been physically or sexually abused;

  • professional observations of the child’s behaviour or development leads a professional to form a belief that the child has been physically or sexually abused or is likely to be abused; or

  • signs of abuse lead to a belief that the child has been physically or sexually abused.

In addition to the mandatory reporting obligations above, Voluntary Reporters or any member of the general public who believes on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection from any form of child abuse, may disclose that information to the Police. In the case of child sexual abuse, If a person receives information that leads them to form a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed against a child (under the age of 16 years) by another person (of or over the age of 18 years), the person has a legal obligation to disclose that information to the Police as soon as it is practicable. Individuals who fail to comply with this obligation may be subject to a penalty of years of imprisonment.

MGIC’s approach to reports of abuse is to support and encourage a person to make a report to the Police if they form a belief on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is in need of protection, or they are concerned about the safety, health or wellbeing of a child or young person.

 

Any person that makes a report in good faith in accordance with their reporting obligations (whether mandatory or voluntary) will be supported by MGIC, and will not be penalised in any way by MGIC for making the report.

If a person is uncertain as to whether they should make a report in relation to the safety of a child, they may speak to a member of the MGIC Team or MGIC PGA Member Graeme Trew for guidance and information. If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask for assistance.

 

If an allegation is made against MGIC personnel, MGIC will follow the MGIC Reporting Procedures. Taking all steps to ensure that the safety of the child is paramount. An initial step will involve the withdrawal of the accused person from active duty, which could entail standing down, reassignment to a role without direct contact with children, working under closer supervision during an investigation, working from home, or any other measures deemed appropriate depending on the seriousness of the allegation.

MGIC will investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct against a child in accordance with procedural fairness and the MGIC’s Complaints Handling Procedure. MGIC will handle the allegations in a confidential manner to the greatest extent possible.

 

MGIC will cooperate with the directions of the Police (or other relevant authority such as the Department of Family and Community Services, NSW Ombudsman or Office of the Children’s Guardian) in relation to any investigation conducted and will keep a register of any allegations regarding inappropriate conduct.

There are two ways mandatory reporters can make a child protection report.

  • by eReport through the ChildStory Reporter website; or

  • by calling the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111.

 

If you're a voluntary reporter you can also call the Child Protection Helpline. Reading Should I call to report a child at risk? may help you to decide whether you should call or not. 

Roles and responsibilities of MGIC personnel

MGIC personnel involved in protecting children include the management, staff and volunteers. These people are expected to:

  • understand the rights of children, as appropriate to their role;

  • respect the cultural and religious practices of families who access MGIC's programs, activities or services;

  • understand and appropriately respond to the needs of children with developmental delays or disabilities;

  • appropriately act on any concerns raised by children;

  • understand the definitions, indicators and impact of child abuse;

  • know and follow regulations in relation to the care of children;

  • co-operate with police and/or other formal investigations to the best of their ability; and

  • not harm or exploit children who access MGIC's services.

 

Guidelines to prevent and manage risks of child abuse

MGIC personnel, regardless of gender, should only enter change rooms/toilets occupied by a child or young person if it is deemed necessary and they are accompanied by another adult. Prior to entering, personnel should verbally notify the people in the change room of their intended entrance. For the avoidance of doubt this requirement does not apply to parents/guardians/carers when in a room with their child.

No personnel should be alone in a room with a child or young athlete without the presence of another adult. The doors must always be open. For the avoidance of doubt this requirement does not apply to parents/guardians/carers when in a room with their child.

 

All personnel retain an overriding responsibility for the welfare of all child and young athletes they accompany when traveling to and from programs, activities or events. They have a 'duty of care' for athletes and they must meet that duty and avoid unaccompanied and unobserved activities with persons less than 18 years of age wherever possible. For the avoidance of doubt this requirement does not apply to parents/guardians/carers when in a room with their child.

 

All personnel must not, under any circumstances, engage in conduct of a sexual nature with a child or young athlete. Improper conduct of a sexual nature by personnel towards an athlete Includes any form of child sexual abuse (defined above) as well as but not limited to the following:

  • inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature;

  • obscene language of a sexual nature;

  • suggestive remarks or actions;

  • jokes of a sexual nature;

  • obscene gestures;

  • unwarranted and inappropriate touching;

  • sexual exhibitionism;

  • use of any device to show/watch offensive material; and

  • any other action that could lead to an athlete being physically, emotionally of psychologically harmed.

 

Personnel or other adults under investigation in relation to a matter involving child abuse, or any matter which has the potential to jeopardise their Working With Children Check (WWCC) (or if based in another State the equivalent requirement) status may be prohibited, by the MGIC PGA Member Graeme Trew, from participating in MGIC programs, activities or services.

All MGIC accredited Coaches and Community Instructors must ensure that all physical contact with athletes, which occurs when teaching and learning is appropriate for the situation and necessary for the athlete's safety. It is strongly recommended that:

  • Coaches/instructors ensure that there are other adults present whenever teaching and learning occurs;

  • Coaches/instructors take time to explain the procedure to the child prior to beginning any physical contact; and

  • Coaches/instructors obtain verbal consent from the athlete prior to beginning any physical contact.

Child safe guidelines for recruitment and selection of personnel

MGIC will maintain a rigorous and consistent recruitment, screening and selection process that includes applications addressing key selection criteria, interviews, references, qualifications and background checks.  The minimum standard for background checks of employees and volunteers of MGIC is the law as it applies in New South Wales. 

 

The MGIC recruitment, screening and selection process aims to:

  • promote and protect the safety of all children who participate in the programs, activities and services of MGIC;

  • identify and recruit the safest, qualified and most suitable candidates who share MGIC’s vision, mission, values and commitment to protect children; and

  • prevent a person from working at MGIC if they pose an unacceptable risk to children.

 

MGIC requires successful applicants to pass the recruitment and screening process prior to commencing their engagement with MGIC. This includes providing evidence (e.g. WWCC or other state equivalent and/or Police check) to show that they are suitable to work with children and young people in a recreational setting.

MGIC personnel and the following people require a current WWCC, or equivalent:

  • those paid by MGIC for their services which are undertaken at the MGIC premises (excluding bump in and bump out);

  • volunteers;

  • relevant contractors who may have unsupervised access to children; and

  • anyone else who MGIC staff feel requires a WWCC due to the nature of the work that they are undertaking with MGIC.

Once engaged, personnel must review and acknowledge their understanding of this policy, which is reinforced throughout induction, orientation and ongoing training and professional development. MGIC personnel can complete the suite of 11 Child Safe e-learning modules developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission to increase their knowledge and understanding of implementing the National Principles. 

Each module takes approximately 20 minutes and is available free of charge from the Child Safe Organisations e-learning portal

MGIC requires that affiliates/partners ensure all personnel (directors/committee members, staff/volunteers, spectators, coaches/instructors and officials) likely to have contact with young athletes (and other children or young people) have a current WWCC, which needs to be sighted/signed off annually by MGIC as part of the affiliation/partnership process. Any costs associated with gaining a valid WWCC will be dealt with in a manner determined by that affiliate/partner. Affiliates/partners that do not comply with their legal obligations will be found to have not complied with the MGIC affiliation/partner requirements and will be disaffiliated.

Risk management and breach approach

Child safety is a part of MGIC's overall risk management approach. It is a breach of this policy for any person or organisation to which this policy applies, to have been found to have done anything contrary to this policy. Any person who may breach this policy is subject to discipline processes.

Policy promotion

This policy will be made available via the MGIC brochure and website www.improvemygolf.com.au. Additionally, this policy will be communicated to all children, young people and their parents/guardians/carers during program/lesson/clinic induction​. Links to this policy are further provided in program outlines and the MGIC Coaching Manual.

Review process

This policy will be reviewed by the MGIC Team for approval by MGIC PGA Member Graeme Trew at least annually. The self-assessment tool helps organisations to reflect on their child safe practices and identify priority areas for improvement, in line with the National Principles.

If you would like to provide MGIC with any feedback or suggestions to improve this policy, please contact us. Recommendations for changes to the policy may be submitted for consideration at any time. In the event that changes are accepted, the policy will be updated, and circulated to all stakeholders via this webpage, email and other appropriate communication channels.

 

Reviewed 1 January 2021

© 2020 Graeme John Trew, trading as Murwillumbah Golf Improvement Centre (MGIC) | ABN 28 610 196 057