The term ‘Child Safe Environment’ describes the club’s legal requirement to put in place measures that protect children from the risk of harm or abuse.
These legal requirements are primarily defined in the Children’s Protection Act 1993 (‘the Act’). Under the Act, certain organisations that provide services wholly or partly for children must establish appropriate policies and procedures for ensuring that:
- appropriate reports of abuse or neglect are made by mandated notifiers; and
- that child safe environments are established and maintained within the organisation.
Firstly, it is important to remember that anyone who suspects, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person is being abused or neglected, should report it to the Families SA Child Abuse Report Line (ph. 13 14 78).
Under the Act, certain groups of people are required to report to Families SA if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child is being abused or neglected. This is a legal obligation which carries a penalty if the individual fails to comply. Some of the volunteers who deliver The Colonel Light Garden Football Club junior football program fall into these groups.
Parents, who simply assist club staff whilst their child is attending training sessions, matches, or other club functions, are not considered to be mandated notifiers.
Establishing Child Safe Environments
The Club is required by law to develop appropriate policies and procedures for establishing and maintaining child safe environments.
To establish and maintain a child safe organisation requires ongoing commitment by the Club. This Member Protection Framework, including the broader Member Protection Policy, is our starting point for delivering on this requirement.
Some of the key things involved with establishing child safe environments include:
- The appointment of suitable volunteers to be coaches and assist in the administration of the program
- Conducting regular criminal history assessments of such volunteers (often referred to as ‘police checks’)
- Assessing and reviewing risk
- Identifying education opportunities and resources
- Ensuring codes of conduct, and associated documents, clearly specify acceptable and unacceptable behaviours.
Our intent is to develop a culture within the Club whereby all members recognise they have a vital part to play in keeping our younger playing group safe.