First Progress Report Released on Northern Territory Royal Commission Reforms

The Northern Territory Government has released its First Progress Report, detailing reforms completed in response to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT; NT schools should be taking a proactive approach to child safety by undertaking an extensive review of their child protection policy framework in anticipation of future legal and regulatory developments.

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Child Safety Curriculums (Part Two): Schools Face Curriculum Compliance Issues Relating to Child Abuse Prevention and Respectful Relationships

While no school registration authority has yet taken the formal step of revising their registration compliance expectations in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, by providing child safety and respectful relationships education, and by documenting how this education is provided, a school will be taking significant steps to demonstrating that it is relevantly meeting the Child Safe Standards and associated registration requirements.

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National Apology to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Made by Federal Government

On 22 October 2018, the Prime Minister apologised on behalf of the Federal Government to all survivors of child sexual abuse. The Federal Government and each state and territory have all accepted, or accepted in principle, the vast majority of the recommendations suggested by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission). The National Apology recognised that, after the investigations of the Royal Commission, not only particular institutions, but society as a whole, failed children and that everyone, including schools, needs to do better to protect the children under their care.

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Child Safety Curriculums (Part One): Schools Face Curriculum Compliance Issues Relating to Child Abuse Prevention and Respectful Relationships

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended that child abuse prevention education should be made mandatory for schools, integrated into existing school curriculums and linked with related areas such as respectful relationships education and sexuality education. However, the manner in which the Australian Curriculum – including the prominence of concepts of child safety and respectful relationships – is implemented varies between jurisdictions.

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South Australia Child Protection Framework Starts: What are Your New Obligations?

On 22 October 2018, all schools in South Australia will need to comply with the new child protection framework, consisting of three new Acts and three new Regulations. To make matters more complex, the current Child Protection Act 1993 (SA) will be phased out gradually to enable the new framework to commence in parts. Schools should be aware that, in the first part of commencement of the framework, there are new definitions of “children at risk” and “harm”, as well as additional neglect and grooming offences, resulting in increased obligations for mandatory reporting for all teachers, employees and volunteers at the school.

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Whistleblower Protections: Complementary to a Child Safe Culture

Whistleblower protections in a school can be the first of many steps that are complementary to creating a child safe culture. While mandatory reporting of child abuse is mandated by law in all Australian jurisdictions, schools with a formal whistleblower policy or program can also create the cultural change required to keep children safe, with an environment that encourages and welcomes staff to make disclosures about any kind of inappropriate behaviour.

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Photographing and Filming Students: Is Your School Getting it Right?

Photographing or filming students at school or at weekend sport has become a highly sensitive issue. With the rise in online abuse such as sexting and cyber bullying, schools have been required to rethink and reinforce protections for their students online, including the consent of students and their parents when taking photographs or producing videos at school events. But has your school maintained the right balance between privacy and common sense when photographing and filming students?

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