RAN-EC for volunteers

RAN-EC for volunteers

Responding to Abuse and Neglect Education and Care (RAN-EC) Welcome to the volunteers face-to-face course. Welcome to our volunteers Thank you for volunteering You play an important role in the education and wellbeing of South Australian children and young people. Your volunteer work makes a real difference. This course will help you understand your child protection role as a volunteer in education and care. Who this course is for The course is specifically for volunteers with:

the Department for Education (South Australia) Catholic Education South Australia Association of Independent Schools of South Australia Course aims By the end of the course, you should understand: how you can help keep children and young people safe ways to recognise abuse and neglect

how to respond to suspicions of abuse and neglect why its important to create positive, caring and respectful relationships with children and young people appropriate boundaries in your role with children and young people.

Think about your wellbeing This course covers some sensitive issues. It can be challenging. Remember: If you discuss examples in this course, talk about individuals anonymously (children or adults). The topic of abuse and neglect can raise difficult emotions for many people this is normal. You need to look after yourself. Child protection we all have a role to play Playing our part Lesley Taylor from the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) talks about how we can all play a part

in the protection of children. The important role you play As a volunteer you might be the first person a child talks to about abuse or you could observe that a child has been harmed. This is due to the nature of volunteering. The role is often in a more relaxed setting. Provide a safe environment Our education and care sites provide children and young people with a safe, respectful and engaging place. We do this in South Australia when we:

make sure relevant screening checks are in place for staff and volunteers train people to understand their mandated notification responsibilities (for example, this course) keep a close connection with families and carers follow guidelines, frameworks and policies that guide our work

with children and young people. The protective practices guidelines One of the guidelines we use is protective practices. These guidelines: provide advice to adults about creating positive, caring and respectful relationships with children and young people safeguard the emotional and physical wellbeing of children and young people by promoting a better understanding of

appropriate professional boundaries. Professional boundaries All staff and volunteers are expected to maintain professional boundaries and be responsible and respectful when they volunteer with children. Some of the key boundaries are covered here.

Communication boundaries Personal disclosure Physical contact Place Targeting individual children Role and electronic equipment Possessions Digital/electronic Communication boundaries To maintain communication boundaries, you should not:

comment inappropriately on a young persons appearance, including excessive flattering comments vilify or humiliate use sexual innuendo or jokes

facilitate or permit access to sexual or pornographic material introduce secrets correspond with a child in a personal nature via any medium that is unrelated to your role communicate with a child on a personal device.

Personal disclosure Its important that you do not discuss: your personal lifestyle details or opinions of yourself, other staff or children unless it is directly relevant to the learning topic and with the individuals consent. Physical contact

To maintain physical boundaries, you should: avoid unwarranted or unwanted touching of a child, including touching with objects, for example a ruler or pencil never use corporal punishment, for example physical discipline or smacking not initiate, permit or request inappropriate or unnecessary

physical contact with a child (for example massaging, kissing and tickling games) or create situations which unnecessarily result in close physical contact with a child not physically restrain a child - always seek support from staff. Place You must not invite, allow or encourage a child to come to your home. Place other boundaries

In your role as a volunteer, you must not: attend childrens homes or their social gatherings* be alone with a child, if it is not an agreed part of your responsibilities enter change rooms or toilets occupied by children when supervision is not required or appropriate

transport a child unaccompanied* use toilet facilities or undressing facilities allocated to children. Note: * without the site leaders authority. Targeting individual children Do not:

tutor (outside of your role) give personal gifts or special favours single out the same child for special duties or responsibilities

offer overnight, weekend, or holiday care for a child as respite for parents provide babysitting (outside of your role) give money. Role and electronic equipment Its important you do not:

adopt an ongoing welfare role that is beyond the scope of your position or that is the responsibility of another staff member or volunteer and that happens without the permission of senior staff photograph, audio record or film children or young people via any medium this is not appropriate unless authorised by the site leader and with the required parent consent

use personal equipment, instead of school equipment for approved activities, unless authorised by the site leader to do so. Possessions Its important that you do not: correspond or communicate, including online or by post, with children in a way that crosses professional boundaries keep photos, video or audio recordings of children on your personal devices (for example, your mobile phone), or in your car or home, unless authorised by the site leader.

If you do have these types of possessions, share them with the site leader and talk about what to do. Digital / electronic We all need to make sure we do not: use personal email, social media or online presence in an inappropriate way, even if its not to do with your role allow children access to your personal presence online (for

example social networking sites) upload or publish still or moving images or audio recordings of children to any location, without parental and site leaders consent have any correspondence of a personal nature via social media, internet postings film or record a child for the use of behaviour training /

modification (without the site leaders authority) If you have concerns about an adults behaviour All staff and volunteers are expected to maintain professional boundaries and to behave responsibly and be respectful to children. If you come across anyone acting inappropriately you are expected to let the nominated site leader know. This needs to happen no matter what position or authority the person has at the site teacher, principal, grounds person, canteen worker, student on a placement anyone.

Concerns about a childs behaviour with other children If you have concerns about a child who is acting inappropriately with another child, you need to let the nominated site leader know. They can help you decide if a mandatory notification needs to be made. Well go over mandatory notifications later in the course. Recognising abuse and neglect What is abuse and neglect? Abuse and neglect are actions that cause harm to children. The legal meaning of harm is explained in the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017. These meanings define when child

protection can take action. 17 (1) a reference to harm will be taken to be a reference to physical harm or psychological harm includes such harm caused by sexual, physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect. General definitions of abuse and neglect In general, child abuse or neglect is categorised in 4 ways. Physical abuse

Sexual abuse Emotional abuse Neglect How do I know a child is doing okay? When volunteering with children and young people, you would expect to see them:

happy healthy socialising normally with adults and peers doing what is expected of them developmentally

attending regularly. Signs that something is wrong If children are not generally and regularly showing the signs we just covered, it might mean something is wrong. It could be a minor or a major problem but the important point is that staff at the site are aware, so that action can be taken. When you discuss your concerns about individual children with the nominated site leader, you play an important role. You help make sure appropriate action is taken at the right time.

What does an offender look like? Many children are harmed by people they know. No-one truly knows what an offender looks like. They might be: highly respected by their community or co-workers in positions of authority or power

well-liked by children or parents. What might make a child more vulnerable? Sometimes the situation of parents/caregivers can make a child more vulnerable, these include:

significant alcohol or other substance abuse mental health problems intellectual disability social isolation being a victim of abuse, neglect or family violence extreme poverty housing and physical environment severe trauma. Children more at risk Some children are particularly at risk of harm. For example: age too young to tell anyone, the younger a child is the

more vulnerable they are disability particularly an intellectual disability in care often referred to as children under guardianship emotionally deprived already abused or neglected children

isolated and disadvantaged for example refugees, new arrivals, non-English speakers, remote communities and international exchange students. Recognising indicators of abuse and neglect Here are some possible indicators of abuse and neglect. These indicators have been identified over time by child protection experts. Behavioural

Physical Parent/carer behaviour Behavioural Possible behavioural indicators of children experiencing abuse, neglect or family violence Some examples, that should be used as a guide only, are:

difficulty in understanding the feelings of others trusting too much and allowing themselves to be exploited low self-esteem running away suicidal thoughts bullying and aggression, and unusually fearful of having nappy changed.

Physical Possible indicators of physical abuse Some examples, that should be used as a guide only, are: bruising, burns, scalds, lacerations, abrasions, fractures and broken bones eating disorders

delay in physical development unexplained failure to thrive medical conditions related to poor hygiene consistently dirty/unwashed, and unattended physical conditions or illnesses. Parent/carer behaviour Possible parent/carer behaviours as indicators. Some examples, that should be used as a guide only, are:

using corporal punishment appearing unconcerned about the childs condition/situation belittling the child delaying seeking medical help or advice favouring other children in the family family violence isolating their child from social and peer activities, and offering illogical accounts of injuries. Responding to abuse and neglect

When a child shares personal information Sometimes children use opportunities that arise in an education and care setting to share personal information. If abuse or neglect is disclosed, or you suspect that a conversation will lead to this, its important to be aware of: your own emotional reaction the impact your verbal and non-verbal reaction can have on the child.

Listen respectfully, show you care and allow them time. Your response matters If you suspect that abuse is being disclosed, it is not your role to investigate. This means you do not ask leading questions. You do not interview other people to check what you suspect or what you have been told. Respect the sensitivity and confidentiality of the information you have been told. Using open questions Using open questions is a gentle and respectful approach that

protects the childs emotions and prevents you from influencing what they want to say. Open questions: invite information and allow a child to say only what they want to say keep the conversation open are rarely answered with a yes or no. Using open questions and examples Here are some examples of leading and open questions. Childs statement I dont like my uncle looking

after me. Leading question Open question I dont want to work. My hand hurts. Is that a cigarette Your hand looks burn on your sore. How did that hand? happen?

Does he make you afraid? How does he make you feel? How to respond Do believe the child listen with care, and only ask open questions respect the enormity of what is being shared with you make sure privacy is respected be patient, dont rush them or yourself

write down what youve been told once you have left the child speak with the nominated site leader to help decide the next actions look after yourself How to respond Dont act scared or shocked doubt the child (question the validity of their story) threaten to harm or punish the perpetrator promise that you will keep it a secret promise that everything will be fine investigate further by asking leading questions or interviewing others leave the child alone or let them leave the site if you are worried about their

immediate safety What a child might be feeling A child might experience a range of emotions when disclosing abuse or neglect. Guilt Shame

Confusion Fear What if the child asks you not to tell anyone else? You must not promise that you will keep it a secret. You have a legal and ethical responsibility to act. Remember, youre not their counsellor other people have that role. What if I need help with the conversation?

If you think you cant handle the conversation, it is best if you can manage your emotions for the sake of the child. Try to stay calm and consider saying: Thank you for starting to tell me this I think its going to really help us if I get someone to join us so we can hear what you want to say. Together we might know the best way to help. Is there a staff person who you would feel comfortable with joining us? Information sharing Sometimes our staff need to involve other professionals outside of the site when things are going wrong for a child or their family. The South Australian government uses the information sharing guidelines to do this. These guidelines help us to share the right information at the right

time. Your role is to make sure the nominated site leader is well informed. Working together, we can help to protect a child at risk of harm. The site leader is responsible for following the guidelines. Making a mandatory notification Your legal obligation As a volunteer working with children you are mandated to report any suspicion on reasonable grounds of abuse and/or neglect formed in the course of your volunteering. This obligation is outlined in Section 30 and 31 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017.

Mandated notifiers If you suspect on reasonable grounds a child is being abused or neglected you must make a mandatory notification. Talk with your nominated site leader. They will listen to your concerns and advise you about what to do next. If the nominated site leader isnt available, you must seek out another leader at the site. As a volunteer, youre supported by professionals at the site to meet your responsibilities as a mandated notifier. What are reasonable grounds? There must be reasonable grounds for reporting abuse and neglect. If there are reasonable grounds, you must make a report. Here are a few examples of reasonable grounds.

Examples of reasonable grounds A child or young person tells you they have been abused. A child or young person tells you that they know of someone who has been abused (they might possibly be referring to themselves). Your own observations of a particular child or young persons

behaviour and/or injuries, or your knowledge of children or young people generally lead you to suspect that abuse is occurring. Your own observations of the caregiver's behaviour cause you to suspect that a child or young person is being, or is at risk of being, abused or neglected. Someone else tells you of the abuse who is in a position to provide reliable information (perhaps a relative, friend, neighbour or sibling of the child or young person who is at risk).

Your nominated site leader You are not expected to act alone. Your nominated site leader will support and guide you through how to respond to concerns. However, you dont hand over your legal responsibility to notify when you talk to your nominated site leader. You are the notifier by law. Working as a team Working together as a team with the nominated site leader allows: everyone to receive the emotional support or guidance they need most importantly the child

the education and care service to meet its duty of care. The duty of care is a joint responsibility to provide children and young people with an adequate level of protection against harm. Why you are asked not to act alone Making a notification about abuse or neglect is a serious action that may have repercussions for: the child

their parents or caregivers the staff at the site who must continue to support and work with the child and/or their parents or caregivers, as well as liaise with other agencies, and you, as you continue to support the child.

Make a report To make a mandatory notification call the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL) on 13 14 78. Keeping a record A record of any mandatory notification is kept securely at the site. Your nominated site leader will work with you to record the mandatory notification. You can pass your notes over to the nominated site leader to keep, or if you keep them make sure they are kept secure and confidential. What else might I need to know? These are some questions you might be wondering about. These

answers might help. Will the family know it was me who made the notification? Under Section 163 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 the identity of a mandated notifier will not be disclosed unless: there is consent of the notifier, or it is required or authorised by the Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection, or

it is required for evidence in court or tribunal proceedings, or it is necessary to prevent harm being caused to the child or young person. Am I protected from civil liability? As long as the mandatory notification is made in good faith, mandated notifiers are immune from civil liability you wont be fined.

Can I be called to give evidence? It is generally a site leader that will be called to give evidence. However, mandated notifiers can sometimes be called to give evidence to the Youth Court or Criminal Court. This is rare. Working with the nominated site leader will greatly assist you if you are ever required to give evidence. The reason a person might need to give evidence is not because they made a notification, its because they have information that is deemed of critical importance to the proceedings. What happens if I do not notify? If suspected abuse or neglect is not reported, the child or young person remains at risk of further abuse or neglect. It might mean

they are at risk of permanent harm or possible death. By not notifying you might be protecting the abuser, not the child. Importantly, you effectively reinforce to the child that no one can or will help them. As a mandated notifier, failure to notify abuse and/or neglect is an offence under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 and carries a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine. Your role Youre not expected to know everything about every child. Talk with your nominated site leader about what you observe. They will help you understand how to best support the child in their learning. Every positive adult relationship that a child has helps them shape

the way they relate with people around them and their environment. Course conclusion Key messages We all have a role to play to make sure children and young peoples safety and wellbeing is at the centre of our work. We all contribute when we: create a safe environment

notice when things go wrong take action, including notifying. Thank you Thank you for contributing to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. When you volunteer, you can make a real difference.

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