Child Safe

Introduction
Bendigo Baptist Church (BBC) is committed to promoting and protecting the interests and safety of children. We have zero tolerance for child abuse.
Everyone working at Bendigo Baptist Church is responsible for the care and protection of children and reporting information about child abuse.

Policy Statement
This Bendigo Baptist Church Child Safe Policy was written to demonstrate the strong commitment of the BBC Council, staff and volunteers have to child safety, and to provide an outline of the policies and practices we have developed to keep everyone safe from any harm, including abuse.

Purpose
The purpose of this policy is
1. To facilitate the prevention of child abuse occurring within BBC.
2. To work towards an organisational culture of child safety.
3. To prevent child abuse within Bendigo Baptist Church.
4. To ensure that all parties are aware of their responsibilities for identifying possible occasions for child abuse and for establishing controls and procedures for preventing such abuse and/or detecting such abuse when it occurs.
5. To provide guidance to staff/volunteers/contractors as to action that should be taken where they suspect any abuse within or outside of the organisation.
6. To provide a clear statement to staff/volunteers/contractors forbidding any such abuse.
7. To provide assurance that any, and all, suspected abuse will be reported and fully investigated according to State Law.

Commitment to Child Safety
All children who come to Bendigo Baptist Church have a right to feel and be safe. The welfare of the children in our care will always be our first priority and we have a zero tolerance to child abuse. We are committed to prividing a child safe and child friendly environment where children feel safe and have fun.
This policy was developed in collaboration with all our staff, volunteers and the children who use our services and their parents. It applies to all staff, volunteers, children and individuals involved in our organisation.

Children’s rights to safety and participation
Bendigo Baptist Church staff and volunteers encourage children to express their views. We listen to their suggestions, especially on matters that directly affect them. We actively encourage all children who use our services to ‘have a say’ about things that are important to them.
We teach children about what they can do if they feel unsafe. We listen to and act on any concerns children, or their parents, raise with us.

Valuing diversity
We value diversity and do not tolerate any discriminatory practices. To achieve this we:
• promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children and their families;
• promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and their families;
• welcome children with a disability and their families and act to promote their participation;

Recruiting staff and volunteers
Bendigo Baptist Church applies the best practice standards in the recruitment and screening of staff and volunteers. We interview and conduct referee checks on all staff and volunteers and require police checks and Working with Children Checks for relevant positions. Our commitment to Child Safety and our screening requirements are included in all advertisements.

Supporting staff and volunteers
Bendigo Baptist Church seeks to attract and retain the best staff and volunteers. We provide support and supervision so people feel valued, respected and fairly treated. We have developed a Code of Conduct to provide guidance to our staff and volunteers, all of whom receive training on the requirements of the Code. (Contact the office on if you wish to view the Code of Conduct.)

Reporting a child safety concern or complaint
Bendigo Baptist Church has appointed a Child Safety Persons with the specific responsibility for responding to any complaints made by staff, volunteers, parents or children. (See reporting procedures).

Risk Management
We recognize the importance of a risk management approach to minimizing the potential for child abuse or harm to occur and use this to inform our policy, procedures and activity planning. In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to our children.

Privacy
All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. Bendigo Baptist Church will protect any personal information that is collected in relation to child safe reporting.

Reviewing this policy
Every two years, and following every reportable incident, a review is conducted to assess whether the Bendigo Baptist Church child protection policies or procedures require modification to better protect the children under the its care.