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Child Safe Sport Framework Process

Your sport is unique and as such the process for making your sport child safe needs to be tailored to your sport. In order to help prevent child abuse there are two integral parts to improving child safety. These are firstly; the Toolkit, a selection of documents to meet the minimum requirements to keep children safe; and the process to tailor this Toolkit to your sport’s individual needs.

In order to adapt the Toolkit to your sport, there are six steps to follow. This reflects the fact that as your sport changes and grows the need to protect children and young people must also grow to meet the risks associated with change. Also, as best practice for child safety changes your sport’s policies and procedures will be need to be kept up to date.

The time it takes in order to complete the steps will vary from sport to sport. For some it might only take 12 months but for others it might take several years. It is all dependent on how many resources you have available to allocate to completing this work and the  priority that is placed on the project.

A key contact needs to be nominated who sits within an implementation team having representation from senior management. Child safety is a team sport and this key contact needs to be supported by a team within your sport to develop and implement child safe practices. This necessarily includes senior executive representation.

It is often thought that developing policy and procedure is the biggest task in a process of creating child safe sport.  However, in reality only about 25 per cent of the effort to make your sport child safe will in the writing, reviewing and endorsement of your policies and procedures. The other 75 per cent of your time will be taken up with the implementation of your child safe policies and procedures.

The starting point is vitally important for the rest of the process. All sports will already have a Member Protection Policy at a minimum. Others will have a much more detailed Child Protection Policy. It is important to look at this starting point and build your child safe policy suite to fill any gaps in your current documentation.

To compile the list of existing policies and procedures it is important that you map what your existing policies and procedures are that overlap with the Toolkit. For example, you will need to ensure your human resources and/or learning and development teams are involved in the process. Existing policies and procedures should be strengthened to include the specific child safe provisions included in the Toolkit templates. Where possible there should not be duplicate policies for the same area. Use the checklist below to help collect these common documents for updating.

List of existing policies checklist

o

Mission Statement / Strategy Document

o

Human Resources Policy

o

Standard Interview Questions

o

Standard Position Descriptions

o

Learning and Development Policy

o

Social Media Policy

o

Reporting Policy

o

Code of Behaviour / Behavioural Guidelines

o

Member Protection Policy

o

Child Protection Policy

In addition to the recruitment and induction policy, specialists from your sport may need to be included at this initial stage depending on the overlap with your existing policies and procedures. This could include specialists from marketing, quality management and/or any other whose role is to manage incident reports.

These existing policies and procedures can be transitioned into the new Child Safe Sport Framework and the associated documents. Where possible, your sport’s suite of children protection policies needs to sit separately to all your other policies and procedures to make it easy for everyone involved in your sport to access the required information.

In your existing documents you may have already addressed a lot of the risks related to child abuse in your sport. It is important that you keep the important parts of these policies for your sport and use the Toolkit to add to what currently exists. This is not a process of simply taking the Toolkit and applying your sport’s branding and contact details it needs to be much more thorough and considered.

The Toolkit has seven components to help you adopt a best practice approach in your sport, your Child Safe Sport Framework will use the toolkit templates and your existing policies to commitment create an updated child safe approach that captures and engages everyone in your sport.

Consideration should be given to the following questions:

  • Who does this framework apply to? For most the answer will be all staff and volunteers including both paid and unpaid staff.
  • What are terms that we need to define that will make our child safe approach clear?
  • What are the legislative requirements for your child safe policies? How does this change based on the states and territories over which the sport is played? (see jurisdictional requirements download)

It is important that your state or territory bodies aligned to your sport need to be included in the review and updating of the child safe policies and procedures. This will allow for feedback and improvements to be made to the framework and procedure based on state experience and knowledge. Depending on your sport this will also necessarily include clubs and members associations.

In addition to the various levels within your sport, it is also important to include state and territory government departments who will be  key in ensuring compliance with jurisdictional legislation.

Finally, it is also important at this stage to consult with the staff, volunteers and the broader community involved in your sport (including the children). This is critical so that the toolkit fits your sport and that you can adequately cover off on risks to children and young people. Consultation can be a long process but it is important to consult with at least a sample of the different groups involved with your sport. One potential avenue for this would be to explore your sports child safe future through your sport’s overarching strategy document and associated consultation process.

Once you have considered your existing policies and procedures and have updated or replaced them to ensure they are child safe, it is important to get appropriate authorisation for your sport. As your sport’s Child Safe Sport Framework, (including all components in the Toolkit), is expected to apply to your senior management and board equally as to everyone else in your organisation it is important that either your senior management team or board signs off on the framework and procedures. This endorsement process may differ depending on the governance structure of your sport.

If the authorising position or team has any feedback on the policy and procedure then this needs to be incorporated and resubmitted for sign-off. It is important to provide regular feedback to senior management and/or the board as well as any state sporting organisations or members associations throughout the process. If  the relevant are kept up to date with the project it should take less time to endorse the policy. This is the responsibility for the key contact, and the implementation team, for the suite of child safe policies.

Once the policy has been authorised the policy is ready to be communicated and implemented across your organisation.

Once the policy is completed and endorsed, it is important to develop a strategy to ensure everyone in your sport knows and understands your Child Safe Sport Framework.

There is not one approach to communicating the Framework, rather a range of complementary communication tools. This can include:

  • Regular staff meetings – use the time to go through the relevant policies one at a time. The focus should be on the Code of Behaviour and reporting policy in addition to the overarching commitment (Child Safe Sport Commitment). Child Safe compliance should be a standing item at regular meetings.
  • Specific training times – arrange meetings across geographical areas or online to talk through the key points of the child safe methodology.
  • Club meetings – where you have local club meetings ensure the topic is discussed at the regular meetings with staff and volunteers.
  • Online resources – like an intranet or internal web page can be used for staff to reference the new policies and procedures.

There may be many more opportunities available to consult on these policies within your sport. Use as many communication methods as you deem relevant to communicate and consult on the suite of child safe policies.

While feedback with staff and volunteers should be incorporated at earlier steps, it is also important, where possible, to amend the policy if there are any significant or fundamental changes suggested by staff. This would include feedback that a policy or procedure will work or cannot be adhered to in their work. Depending on the size of the change, it may require the document to be endorsed again by senior management.

Once the Child Safe Sport Framework has been communicated with staff and volunteers and any changes made, it is time to consult with the broader community and signal a ‘go live’ date.

It is important to use and communicate the Framework through community information sessions as well as on your website and social media.

When the ‘go live’ date of the policy framework arrives staff and volunteers should be well prepared and understand their responsibilities under the new framework. This will provide you with information on how well people can adhere to the policy and procedure, how well they understand it, and whether they need guidance and/or disciplinary procedures in place. Any departures from or breaches of the suite of child safe policies needs to be reported and potentially addressed by your disciplinary procedures.

Your child safe journey will have a start but not an end. Like your sport, child safe practice is constantly changing and it is important that you review your sport’s Child Safe Sport Framework on a regular basis (depending on the needs of your sport it could be annually, every three years or another specified time period).

As your sport changes, your staff and volunteers will also regularly change. Your Framework will need to be communicated when it is changed and new and existing staff will need to be familiar with each of these changes as relevant.

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