Keeping children and young people safe
All children and young people have a right to feel safe, and to be safe at all times. Mission Australia will not tolerate any abuse or neglect of children or young people involved with our services.
We are committed to creating environments which are child safe and child friendly in line with our Founding Purpose and Values. We take a preventative and proactive approach to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, that everyone understands and where everyone feels confident to have a say and raise any concerns.
We respect and value the rights of all children and young people, and support them to reach their full potential. We recognise that particular consideration needs to be paid to the cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. We also acknowledge the particular needs of children and young people arising from their cultural and linguistic background, sexuality, gender diversity, disability, or as a result of domestic and family violence or other trauma.
Safeguarding children and young people is the responsibility of all Mission Australia people, including the Board, Executive, leaders, staff, contractors, students and volunteers across the whole organisation.
Mission Australia will:
- Drive a culture of child safety at all levels of the organisation.
- Take all allegations or disclosures of abuse or neglect seriously, respond appropriately, report concerns to the relevant authorities, and uphold our values of Compassion and Integrity at all times. The safety of the child/young person will be our primary consideration and no Mission Australia person will obstruct any investigation or collude to protect any person or organisation.
- Empower children, young people, families and communities to participate in decisions which affect their lives.
- Value diversity and promote inclusive practices.
- Employ and engage only people who are suitable to work with children and young people and provide high quality supervision and support.
- Ensure children and young people who feel unsafe, or wish to raise a concern know who to talk with and feel comfortable to do so.
- Ensure staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe.
- Maintain the safety, suitability and security of our physical and online environments which children and young people access.
- Embed Child Safe principles within our quality assurance practices.
- Undertake regular review of policy and procedures that document how our organisation is child safe.
The above responsibilities are detailed within our Code of Conduct , Child and Youth Safe Policy , Behavioural Standards for Keeping Children and Young People Safe Policy and our Reconciliation Action Plan.
Mission Australia is also participating in the National Redress Scheme for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
Our services in South Australia support the Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People’s Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care.
Listening to children and young people
We believe involving children, young people and their families as users of our services and as part of the community helps us ensure what we do is relevant to them. Involving children and young people is much more than just asking them for their ideas and views. It’s about informing them of their rights, listening to them, taking them seriously and acting on their suggestions. It also encourages them to participate in decisions that affect their lives. One of the ways we do this is to talk through our Charter of Rights and Responsibilities which sets out the rights of children and young people so they know what they should expect from us.
One way we do this is through our annual Youth Survey which enables young people aged 15 to 19 years to speak up about issues that really concern them. The findings equip Mission Australia and other organisations with current evidence to advocate on their behalf for the services and broader policy changes that they need.
A number of our services have developed different ways to include the voice of children and young people in their service planning. One such example is the Children’s Parliament in south-west Sydney. Another is Dandenong Children's forum.
Another way Mission Australia listens to the voices of children and young people and their families is by seeking their feedback about our services and the behaviour of our staff and volunteers. We value and welcome this feedback as it assists us to address issues and improve. We encourage children and young people to raise a concern or complaint, give us a compliment or make an appeal.
We are committed to a ‘Speak Up & Speak Out’ culture. If you are not satisfied with how we handled a concern or complaint you can read our Whistleblower policy which outlines how you can report serious matters such as concerns about unethical, illegal, fraudulent or undesirable conduct involving Mission Australia.
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