Introduction to Child Protection

The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW (the Society) is committed to being a Child Safe Organisation. The Society has clear, accountable and transparent policy and procedures to ensure that it complies with relevant legislation and that all children and young people who come into contact with the Society are safe and supported.

This session will provide you with information about the different forms of abuse, the warning signs of abuse, how to report and record any suspected abuse and the Society's and your responsibilities as a member or volunteer.

Introduction

Rights of the child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) specifically recognises that children have a right to be protected from physical and mental harm and neglect and be able to enjoy the full range of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

Child abuse and neglect

Child abuse and neglect is one of Australia’s biggest and most misunderstood social problems. Despite being under-reported, Australian authorities confirmed 42,457 children were abused or neglected in one year alone*.

That’s one child every 13 minutes suffering physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect, often by someone they know and should be able to trust; most often in their own home. Thousands more cases go unreported, and the number of children and young people in out-of-home care is increasing.

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child protection Australia 2014-15.

Children and young people

A is classified as someone who is under 16 years of age. A is someone who is between 16-18 years of age.

Background information

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) has investigated how institutions or organisations, such as schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations, have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse. The Royal Commission’s research and recommendations on best practice aim to provide guidance:

  • to protect against the occurrence of child sexual abuse and to respond appropriately when any allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse occur, including holding perpetrators to account and providing justice to victims.

The Society recognises the importance of diligent ongoing evaluation and review and a proactive approach to implementing and remaining current in best practices in keeping Children and Young People Safe. The Society is working towards accreditation with Child Wise (a leading not-for-profit child abuse prevention organisation) as a ‘Child Safer Organisation’ and is actively implementing the research of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted in ’Creating Child Safe Institutions’

Vulnerable groups

Infants and pre-school children are at higher risk of abuse than older children. The leading cause of death amongst this age group is from injury and assault - the rate of child homicide is highest among infants less than 1 year old. Indigenous children are over-represented across the child protection system compared with non-Indigenous children. In 2013-14, Indigenous children were:

• Approximately 7 times more likely to be the subject of substantiated abuse or neglect.

• Almost 10 times more likely to be on a care and protection order.

• Over 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home care.

It is estimated that children with a disability are 3 times more likely to be sexually abused – but the actual rate is probably far higher. There is early evidence to suggest that children from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) or migrant background are also at higher risk of sexual abuse.

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, 2015.

Learning

  • On average, one child every 13 hours suffers abuse in Australia
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) specifically recognises that children have a right to be protected from physical and mental harm and neglect
  • In 2014-15 over 42,000 children suffered abuse in Australia
  • Most often instances of child abuse occurs out of the home and by strangers
  • The Royal Commission provides guidance that aims to prevent the occurrence of child abuse and to respond appropriately to any allegations and instances of child abuse
  • Older children are at a higher risk of abuse than infants and pre-school aged children
  • Children with a disability are 3 times more likely to suffer sexual abuse
  • Indigenous children are under-represented across the child protection system and are 7 times less likely to be the subject of abuse or neglect
Select whether you think the following is true or false

Types of abuse

Types of abuse

Child Protection Legislation in NSW recognises the following types of abuse:

  1. Physical Abuse is a non-accidental injury or pattern of injuries which are caused by a parent, caregiver, or any other person.
  2. Psychological Abuse or Harm is any behaviour by a parent or caregiver which changes the confidence and self-esteem of the child or young person, resulting in serious emotional deprivation or trauma.
  3. Sexual Abuse is when someone involves a child or young person in a sexual activity by using their power over them or taking advantage of their trust.
  4. Neglect is the continued failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child with the basic things needed for his or her proper growth and development.
  5. Relinquishing Care is where the parent/carer is no longer willing to provide shelter/food/supervision for the child/young person or child/young person has been in voluntary care for longer than the legislation allows.
  6. Carer Concern is where you have information that the child/young person is significantly affected by carer concerns (carer concerns include may include: substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence).
  7. Unborn Child is where when you are concerned for the welfare of an unborn child upon his/her birth.

Types of abuse matching exercise

  • Sexual abuse
    is when someone involves a child or young person in a sexual activity by using their power over them or taking advantage of their trust.
  • Physical abuse
    is a non-accidental injury or pattern of injuries which are caused by a parent, caregiver, or any other person.
  • Neglect
    is the continued failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child with the basic things needed for his or her proper growth and development.
  • Psychological abuse
    Psychological Abuse or Harm is any behaviour by a parent or caregiver which changes the confidence and self-esteem of the child or young person, resulting in serious emotional deprivation or trauma.
  • Relinquishing care
    is where the parent/carer is no longer willing to provide shelter/food/supervision for the child/young person or child/young person has been in voluntary care for longer than the legislation allows.
  • Carer concern
    is where you have information that the child/young person is significantly affected by carer concerns (carer concerns include may include: substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence)
  • Unborn child
    is where when you are concerned for the welfare of an unborn child upon his/her birth.

Warning signs

The following are some possible indicators that abuse may be occurring:

  • Bruising (physical abuse)
  • Lacerations or welts (physical)
  • Burns or scalds (physical)
  • Lack of trust in people (Psychological harm)
  • Extreme attention-seeking behaviour (Psychological harm)
  • Difficulty sleeping (Psychological harm)
  • Describing sexual acts (sexual abuse)
  • Sexual knowledge or behaviour inappropriate for their age (sexual abuse)
  • Regressive behaviour (sexual abuse)
  • Going to bed fully clothed (sexual abuse)
  • Low weight for age and/or failure to thrive and develop (neglect)
  • Poor standards of hygiene (neglect)
  • Child not adequately supervised for their age (neglect)
  • Untreated physical problems (neglect)
  • Pregnant women is homeless (unborn child)
  • An adult in a household where children or young people also live has been seriously injured in a domestic violence incident (carer concern – domestic violence)

Cultural differences

Cultural diversity refers to people who identify with particular groups based on their birthplace, ethnicity, language, values, beliefs or views.

Impact of abuse

The effects of child abuse and neglect can be significant and lead to lifelong problems. It can impact a child’s brain development, how they feel and think about themselves, how successful they are at school, even their physical development and skills.

In the long term it can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, difficulty developing and maintaining good relationships, unemployment and all sorts of social disadvantage – all due to their childhood experiences, and not their fault.

Untitled statement question

  • Type your statement here...
  • Type your statement here...

Offender behaviours

Types of behaviours

Warning signs

Untitled content

Prevention

Video

Child Safe strategies

The Society commits to being a Child Safe Organisation and to continually assessing and evaluating its Child Safe Strategies to ensure that we are doing all we can to support and protect children.  

We will take all possible actions to:

  • support and nurture all children and young people who come into contact with the Society;
  • promote their rights, dignity and wellbeing;
  • enable them to fully participate in the St Vincent de Paul Society and in their local communities;
  • ensure their safety and protect them from abuse and all forms of harm; and
  • always put the best interests of children and young people first. 

Fill in the blanks

The Society will take all possible actions to:

support and all children and young people who come into contact with the Society;

promote their , dignity and wellbeing;

enable them to fully in the St Vincent de Paul Society and in their local communities;

ensure their safety and them from abuse and all forms of harm; and

always put the interests of children and young people first. 

Reporting

Reporting

Child Protection Policy

One of the most important concerns of any community is the health, safety and wellbeing of its children (under 16) and young people (16-17). The same is true in the Society.

If you are ever told by a child / young person about harm they have received,  then

  1. Reassure: tell them they did the right thing by telling you, that they are not in trouble, you will tell someone who can help them and they have a right to feel sage and protected. Then, regardless of how you have received information about the harm (directly, from observation, indirectly):
  2. Record: anything you are told / observe. Record date, time, parties involved. Record even if unsure it is ‘serious’
  3. Report: to leader, EO who has expertise and training to make the right decisions

Interventions

Untitled multiple choice question

  • Put your answer option here
  • Put your answer option here