Child Safe Policy and Statement of Commitment

Willison Park Tennis Club (WPTC) is committed to child safety.

  • We want children to be safe, happy and empowered.
  • We support and respect all children, as well as our coaches, club officials,  and volunteers.
  • We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our robust policies and procedures.
  • We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety.
  • WPTC is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks.
  • We are committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.
  • We have specific policies and procedures in place that support our committee, club officials and volunteers to achieve these commitments.

Our children

This policy is intended to empower children who participate in club activities at WPTC. We involve them when making decisions, especially about matters that directly affect them. We listen to their views and respect what they have to say.

We promote diversity and tolerance in WPTC, and people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds are welcome. In particular we:

  • promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children
  • promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • ensure that children with a disability are safe and can participate equally.

Our club officials and volunteers

This policy guides our club officials and volunteers on how to behave with children in WPTC.

All our officials and volunteers must agree to abide by our code of conduct, which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children. All officials and volunteers, as well as children and their families, are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the code of conduct.

Our coaches

WPTC insists that club coaches adhere to club policies and maintain child safety practices of their own, consistent with the requirements of the law. The WPTC committee monitors adherence to these policies by club coaching organisations and staff.

Training and supervision

Training and education is important to ensure that everyone in WPTC understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Our culture aims for all club officials and volunteers (in addition to parents/carers and children) to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse, or any child safety concerns. We train our club officials and volunteers to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.

We also support our club officials and volunteers through ongoing supervision to:

  • develop their skills to protect children from abuse; and
  • promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from linguistically and/or diverse backgrounds, and the safety of children with a disability.

New club officials and volunteers will be supervised regularly to ensure they understand WPTC’s commitment to child safety and that everyone has a role to play in protecting children from abuse, as well as checking that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate (please refer to our code of conduct to understand appropriate behaviour further). Any inappropriate behaviour will be reported through appropriate channels, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.

Fair procedures for personnel

The safety and wellbeing of children is our primary concern. We are also fair and just to personnel. The decisions we make when  assessing incidents and undertaking disciplinary action will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.

We record all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using our incident reporting form, including investigation updates. All records are securely stored. If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised, we provide updates to children and families on progress and any actions we as an organisation take.

Privacy

All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, whether they be club officials, volunteers, parents or children, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. We have safeguards and practices in place to ensure any personal information is protected. Everyone is entitled to know how this information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will have access to it.

WPTC takes our legal responsibilities seriously, including:

  • Failure to disclose:​ Reporting child sexual abuse is a community-wide responsibility. All adults in Victoria who have a reasonable belief that an adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 have an obligation to report that information to the police.
  • Failure to protect:​ People of authority in WPTC will commit an offence if they know of a substantial risk of child sexual abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently fail to do so.

Risk management

In Victoria, organisations are required to protect children when a risk is identified (see information about failure to protect above). In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to our children.

We have risk management strategies in place to identify, assess, and take steps to minimise child abuse risks, which include risks posed by physical environments (for example, any doors that can lock), and online environments (for example, no club official or volunteer is to have contact with a child via social media).

Review

This policy will be reviewed  following any significant incident that may occur. We will ensure that families and children have the opportunity to contribute. Where possible we do our best to work with local Aboriginal communities, culturally and/or linguistically diverse communities and people with a disability.

Allegations, concerns and complaints

WPTC takes all allegations seriously and has practices in place to investigate thoroughly and quickly. Our club officials and volunteers are trained to deal appropriately with allegations.

We work to ensure all children, families, club officials and volunteers know what to do and who to tell if they observe abuse or are a victim, and if they notice inappropriate behaviour.

We all have a responsibility to report an allegation of abuse if we have a reasonable belief that an incident took place (see information about failure to disclose above).

If an adult has a ​reasonable belief ​that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may be:

  • a child states they or someone they know has been abused (noting that sometimes the child may in fact be referring to themselves)
  • behaviour consistent with that of an abuse victim is observed
  • someone else has raised a suspicion of abuse but is unwilling to report it
  • observing suspicious behaviour.

Any questions relating to WPTC’s policy should be directed to the Committee.